How To Report A Nursing Home In Oklahoma: Getting Help
It is a difficult decision to place an elderly family member in a nursing home and it’s perfectly reasonable to worry about abuse and neglect. Elder abuse is often called a “silent epidemic” because it is hard to recognize and rarely reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in 10 U.S. adults age 60 and older experiences abuse (including physical, sexual, psychological, financial, and neglect) annually by caregivers. Yet only one in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported to a state authority.
With those statistics in mind, it is wise to stay vigilant of potential issues with your loved one’s nursing home. If you happen to see something, or suspect something, here’s how you should handle it.
Should You Keep Records of Suspicious Behavior In the Nursing Home?
Yes - You should absolutely document your suspicions if you suspect abuse or neglect. First, educate yourself on the different types of abuse and how you can recognize the warning signs.
Next, write down your suspicions or what you’ve witnessed in as much detail as possible. Take pictures of injuries, living conditions, etc., to support your documentation. Also, Oklahoma law allows you to put video and audio recorders in a nursing home resident’s room to monitor for abuse.
However, the resident or guardian of the resident as well as any roommate must give consent and the facility must be advised in writing that recording devices are being used in the room. The placement of video cameras may go a long way in protecting your loved one from abuse and neglect.
All of this documentation, including the audio and video recordings, will strengthen your case if you file a complaint, and are typically admissible in court if you engage in a lawsuit.
How Do You Report a Nursing Home in Oklahoma If You Suspect Abuse?
Air your concerns first with the nursing home administrators. If the health or safety issue is not addressed, you should report it. Your complaint will be investigated and may save not only your loved one, but other elderly residents from situations that threaten their well-being.
In Oklahoma, the State Department of Health and Department of Human Services share responsibility for monitoring and investigating nursing homes. Long Term Care (LTC) Services, a division of the State Department of Health, oversees the health and safety of residents living in licensed long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, residential care homes, assisted living centers.
You can file a complaint with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services via okhotline.org, the State's dedicated hotline for reporting allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults. We recommend that you start here.
You can also file a complaint with the LTC by sending an email to [email protected] or calling 1-800-747-8419.
What happens when I file a complaint?
Reporting nursing home abuse essentially involves providing information of abuse you witnessed, or why your suspicions were raised. Anyone with personal knowledge or substantial information about a potential violation can file a complaint.
While all long-term care facilities are inspected once a year, nursing homes with complaints or previous infractions are subject to more frequent, unannounced inspections. When a complaint is made, the LTC makes an unannounced inspection to investigate and will create a written report of the findings. If a violation is found, the facility must submit a Plan of Correction explaining how they will resolve the issue.
How Will You Know Your Concerns Are Being Heard?
After the LTC’s investigation, the findings report is made available to the complainant and nursing home. It is also available to the public. You will also be able to access the nursing home’s Plan of Correction.
GT Law Can Help
It is difficult and stressful to determine if your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, particularly if it has resulted in their death. Our team has over 30 years of experience with these types of cases and can guide you through the entire process, so you can focus on taking care of your family. Contact us today for your free assessment.
Ready to get started?
We're here to help.