Nursing Home Abuse

Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Litigation

When disability or disease renders a loved one unable to care for himself or herself, Oklahomans are often faced with the challenging decision of how to provide that care. For many, the only way to provide an elderly or disabled loved one with the round-the-clock skilled nursing care he or she needs is to place the person in a nursing home.

Nursing homes should be places where the elderly and other vulnerable residents are able to receive top quality care. In the best facilities, patients and residents are treated with dignity and respect. They are given medical care, their hygiene needs are adequately addressed, and they are provided nourishing meals.

Unfortunately, nearly a third of all nursing homes have been cited for abuse or neglect. In Oklahoma, the situation is dire. According to the Families for Better Care Nursing Home Report Cards, Oklahoma nursing homes are among the worse, ranked 48th out of 51 in an analysis of nursing home grades in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

When a person suffers injury from neglect or abuse in a nursing home, he or she is entitled to financial compensation from those who are negligent in providing appropriate care and supervision. In some cases, those who abuse or neglect nursing home residents are held criminally liable. Whether or not the abuse of your loved one results in criminal charges for the abuser, you may still pursue restitution and compensation through nursing home litigation.

At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, we are dedicated to providing compassionate legal representation for victims of nursing home abuse or neglect while aggressively pursuing justice from those responsible. A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can go a long way toward enforcing appropriate care in nursing facilities as well as demonstrating the worth of the elderly and disabled people who must call these facilities home.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse in nursing homes can take many forms:

  • Neglect
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial Exploitation

If a nursing home resident is neglected, he or she may suffer bedsores, infections, malnutrition, and more. Physical abuse can lead to significant injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, brain injury, and emotional trauma. Emotional and sexual abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and other considerable mental health issues.

If you have made the challenging decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, you expect that he or she will be treated with dignity and provided appropriate medical care. When your trust is violated and your vulnerable loved one is harmed, hold accountable those whose negligence or malice caused such devastation.

Nursing Home Neglect

Perhaps the most common type of nursing home abuse is neglect. While nursing home neglect frequently leads to physical injury, it is not an active form of abuse, but rather a failure to provide appropriate medical care, nutrition, hygiene, and supervision.

According to Families for Better Care, only seven states provided patients with more than one hour of professional nursing care each day, with 96 percent of states providing less than three hours of direct care each day. Oklahoma ranked dead last in the amount of professional nursing care to nursing home residents, providing less than half an hour of Registered Nurse Hours per resident per day.

With low nursing home staffing, patients are likely to suffer from neglect. Nursing home employees are often overworked and underpaid, and with a high ratio of patients to staff, it becomes difficult for facilities to provide patients with adequate care. However, it is the responsibility of the facility to adequately staff the nursing home to ensure that residents are not neglected.

If you suspect your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, be alert for the following signs of nursing home neglect:

  • Unexplained weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Unnecessary restraints
  • Poor personal hygiene: not being bathed, not receiving dental care, wearing dirty clothes
  • Unsanitary conditions: soiled bedding, dirty rooms, bugs
  • Lack of adequate clothing, either unsuited to weather conditions or insufficient for modesty
  • Lack of supervision: failure to check on a resident, leaving a resident unattended in public or in a dangerous situation, failure to prevent wandering from the facility
  • Desertion of the elder at a public place
  • Lack of medical care: failure to provide medication, failure to treat injuries

Nursing home neglect can lead to injuries, infection, and even wrongful death. Do not allow gross negligence to go unaddressed. Seek financial compensation from those who failed to fulfill the duty of care owed to your loved one.

Nursing Home Abuse

Unlike neglect, nursing home abuse is the active and intentional inflicting of harm upon a resident. It includes the physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse of vulnerable nursing home residents.

Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, and open wounds
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Notable agitation in the presence of staff members
  • Inappropriate restraints or signs of restraint, such as marks on the wrists
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocated joints

Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Bruising around the genitals or inner thighs
  • Sexually transmitted disease or infection
  • Torn, stained, or missing undergarments
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding, tearing, or other injury
  • Personality changes including fear, anxiety, anger, and depression

Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Significant personality changes
  • Withdrawal
  • Fearfulness and anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Becoming non-responsive or non-communicative
  • Frequently agitated
  • Display of nervous behaviors including sucking, biting, or rocking
  • Depression

Often, the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are similar to some of the personality and behavioral changes that often accompany aging or dementia. However, exhibition of multiple signs, or the appearance of symptoms of abuse without sufficient explanation may be indicators that your loved one is suffering maltreatment in the facility charged with providing care.

If you suspect that a family member is being abused in a nursing home, contact police to investigate criminal wrongdoing and consult a personal injury lawyer about how to hold the facility liable through civil litigation. Call (405) 608-4990 for more information or to schedule a risk-free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.

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