Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Death of personal-care home resident has lawmakers from his hometown talking about stricter staffing rules

The death of a missing personal-care home resident has a bipartisan pair of Kentucky lawmakers from his home town of talking about setting staffng standards for Kentucky's personal-care homes or even nursing homes, which have successfully lobbied against such regulation.

Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon and Democratic Rep. Terry Mills of Lebanon participated in the search that led to the discovery of Falmouth Nursing Home resident Larry Lee's body, Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Following the search, they agreed tougher legislation is needed for personal-care homes.

State regulations on staffing for such homes are vague, stating staff-to-resident ratios should be based on the number of patients and the supervision required to meet their needs, Spears reports.

Higdon plans to address staff-to-resident ratios, resident activities, aging facilities and other problems through legislation. He said he may also support legislation that would create procedures for communities to follow when vulnerable community members go missing.

Mills wants the General Assembly to investigate staff-to-resident ratios for all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. He said he and Higdon have discussed a "call for a task force to study conditions at personal-care homes." (Read more)

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