As many as 5,000,000 elders are abused in nursing homes every year, and only 20 percent of these cases are ever reported. The unfortunate reality is that most assisted living facilities and nursing homes are understaffed and therefore unable to provide the quality of care that residents need.
When resident-to-staff ratios are too high, vulnerable patients – many of whom are already suffering health problems and cognitive decline – are at significant risk of neglect and harm.
If you suspect your loved one was the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, you can count on Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, for effective legal advocacy. It is heartbreaking to think that a facility you entrusted to care for your elderly relative has breached their duty of care. In situations like these, the best thing you can do is enlist the services of an Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyer who will pursue justice on your behalf.
A shortage of nurses, aides, and other caregivers forces nursing home staff to prioritize certain tasks over others. Residents who are bedridden, taking multiple medications, and already frail often have basic needs overlooked.
Hiring unqualified or poorly trained personnel also puts nursing home residents at risk for many types of physical and emotional abuse, which may be intentionally inflicted.
The attorneys at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, are known for their integrity, compassion, and successful litigation experience, and take nursing home abuse cases in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and the surrounding areas. We have the resources to investigate and prove if nursing home staff were negligent or abusive in any way.
An Oklahoma nursing home lawsuit may be filed on claims of negligent care and supervision, negligent hiring of staff, intentional infliction of abuse, negligent maintenance of the facility, errors in medication administration, or failure to follow a doctor’s orders of care.
If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, to take action against a nursing home, you can rest assured there are no upfront costs, since we handle claims on a contingency-fee basis.
There are a number of ways your loved one may potentially suffer in a nursing home. Some of the more common types that an experienced Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyer has handled include:
- Financial Abuse: A staff member improperly or illegally handles the patient’s assets. This could include stealing money, opening a new account in the victim’s name, forging the victim’s signature on a check, or using their debit card to withdraw money from their bank account.
- Physical Abuse: Examples of physical abuse include shoving, tripping, hitting, kicking, slapping, or unnecessarily restraining the patient.
- Sexual Abuse: Any non-consensual sexual contact or encounter with the nursing home patient is devastating for the victim, both physically and emotionally.
- Emotional Abuse: A staff member insults, verbally abuses, humiliates, or threatens the patient. Emotional abuse may also include keeping the victim socially isolated and preventing them from engaging in activities they typically enjoy.
- Neglect: The nursing home staff fails to provide adequate care to enable the victim to live comfortably. Examples of neglect include insufficient food or hydration, not giving medication, or failing to regularly turn or move bedridden patients.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities often have environments that create a high risk of neglect and abuse for senior patients. Poor administration and a lack of regulatory policies can allow mistreatment to go unreported, creating a vicious cycle of emotional and/or physical abuse and neglect.
As a friend or family member of a nursing home resident, be alert for “red flags” of neglect such as:
- Pressure sores
- Poor personal hygiene
- Soiled clothing
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Dirty bed linens
- Immobility from lack of regular exercise
- Unexplained weight loss and dehydration
- Worsening health condition from lack of medication
If a loved one exhibits any of the following warning signs of physical or psychological abuse in a nursing home, your first step should be to ensure their safety:
- Unexplained bruises, broken bones, cuts, or other injuries
- Unnecessary restraints
- Changes in behavior: including social withdrawal, agitation, fear, anxiety, and depression
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Sleeping all the time or disoriented from improper sedative medication
- Sexually transmitted infection
Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Oklahoma will advise you that if your family member has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit.
The more tangible evidence you have to prove your case, the more likely you are to reach a fair settlement with the nursing home or prevail at trial. Here are some steps that you can take to help maximize your chances for a successful outcome:
- Set up a hidden camera. It is legal to do in Oklahoma, and the nursing home has no legal recourse to stop you. This camera may capture footage that proves that your loved one is being abused or neglected.
- Visit frequently and spontaneously. The more opportunities you have to observe the facilities, staff, and other patients, the more you will see, hear and discover how patients, including your family member, are treated.
- Call the police.
- Contact adult protective services.
Finally, consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling nursing home neglect in Oklahoma. Following the case review, you may decide that you would like to retain an attorney to investigate and build the case for you. Crowe, Arnold & Majors, LLP, invite you to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
There are state and federal laws that protect the rights of residents in long-term care facilities. If any form of neglect or mistreatment has occurred, a legal complaint can be filed against the nursing home owners and administrators.
Every year, hundreds of families make Oklahoma nursing home complaints on behalf of an aged loved one. Reporting neglect and abuses can ensure negligent parties are held accountable and may help prevent others from suffering similar harms.
- Call 911 to report any serious emergencies
- Report your findings about the resident’s condition to the nursing home supervisor
- Report the suspected abuse to the Adult Protective Services
- Contact the Oklahoma nursing home ombudsman at the State Department of Health
Filing a lawsuit for nursing home abuse allows plaintiffs to seek monetary compensation for the various damages suffered. A lawsuit may be filed by the resident, the victim’s legal guardian, the victim’s children or spouse, or the representative of the estate if the resident is deceased.
Contact Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, to arrange a free case review with an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer who is committed to protecting nursing home victim’s rights.