Ending Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
At a minimum, seniors and other nursing home residents should receive satisfactory care. Most nursing homes do provide seniors with the essential care they deserve. The Nursing Home Bill of Rights obligates Oklahoma nursing homes to inform residents of their rights at any long-term care facility. Residents have the following rights:
- To be treated politely and with complete dignity
- To obtain suitable health treatment
- To help plan their treatment
- To be advised about their treatment options
- To be free from mental and physical cruelty or involuntary segregation
Despite legislation protecting patient’s rights, nursing home abuse is common ― although often hidden from the public eye. Due to their fear of retaliation and because they are often in mental decline, abuse victims often underreport their mistreatment. Recently, the state legislature also took decisive steps to rectify this underreporting by passing the “Protect Our Loved Ones Act,” scheduled to become effective before the end of 2013. Now, residents are authorized to use hidden cameras in their rooms. This can help family members detect latent abuse and intervene to ensure their loved ones receive appropriate care.
Of course, even with passage of the new law, many instances of institutional abuse on the facilities’ grounds will never caught on tape. Some financial and health care abuses and neglect are, by their nature, too subtle to be easily recorded. However, many types of abuse are readily visible. Residents of nursing homes can fall victim to:
- Unsanitary conditions
- Financial abuse, like unauthorized use of a resident’s funds
- Poor supervision
- Physical restraints
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Patients may also be subjected to medical fraud, when overcharged for services or charged for services never provided. The long-term and short-term effects of abuse or neglect can intensify existing mental or physical decline, often leading to dementia, depression, or death.
Despite the legislature's clarion call for abuse prevention, some long-term care facilities would rather resist self-examination and employ powerful insurers, lawyers and political lobbyists who enable them to shirk their responsibilities. Nursing home abuse victims and their families can benefit greatly from a razor-sharp team of attorneys, medical experts and forensic investigators who can aggressively discover whether failures to follow the law caused neglect or abuse.
Contact an attorney experienced in representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect for a free consultation. At The Barkett Law Firm, we’ll fight to protect your loved ones and help obtain the compensation they deserve.