Unfortunately, nursing home conditions are not always up to par. Sometimes facilities are understaffed or underfunded, increasing the risk of abuse and neglect. According to data from the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 10 percent of older adults are victims of some form of elder abuse or neglect. Everyone ought to know how to report nursing home abuse. If you believe that your loved one may be a victim, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can help.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
The first step is recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, which aren’t always immediately obvious. Since the people who live in nursing homes are often in poor health, it can sometimes be difficult to prove that abuse and neglect have occurred. If you notice that your loved one appears to be depressed, angry, or unusually fearful, look for other signs that abuse or neglect may be occurring. Signs of potential abuse or neglect include the following:
- Poor hygiene
- Acting withdrawn
- Not being allowed to visit with family members without staff present
- Missing personal property
- Checks written from the resident’s financial accounts to staff members
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Bed sores
- Skin tears
- Supplies or personal property disappearing
- Staff members failing to notify you of an incident involving your loved one
- Not being responsive when normally responsive
- Unclean sheets or linen
- Lack of supplies
- No operating call light
- Inadequate number of staff members
- When visiting, you notice it takes a long time for staff members to help your loved one
- Unexplained complaints by your loved one about unwanted touching or sexual assault
If you sense that something isn’t right, tell someone. It is always better to report your suspicions than to fail to tell anyone.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma
First, if you notice an infraction of health or safety rules at a nursing home in Oklahoma, talk to the nursing home’s management about the problem. If the supervisor does not do anything to solve the issue, you can file a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health by calling 800-747-8429 or emailing the agency at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if you see signs that your loved one is being abused, report it to law enforcement. If you believe that your loved one is in danger, promptly report your concerns to the police and take steps to move your loved one to a safe location.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Arkansas
If you see evidence of a health or safety issue at a nursing home in Arkansas, report your concerns to the nursing home’s management. Then, call the Arkansas elder abuse hotline at 800-332-4443. You can also call the Arkansas Department of Human Service‘s adult abuse hotline at 800-482-8049. Typically, the Department of Human Service will send a social worker to visit the facility when it receives a complaint about suspected neglect or abuse. If you believe that your loved one is in imminent danger, call the police to report what has happened, and take steps to move him or her to a safe location.
Get Help from an Experienced Attorney
After you have reported the abuse or neglect of your loved one, we encourage you to consult with an experienced attorney. If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you may be able to recover damages for your losses. A lawsuit may be filed by the nursing home resident, the resident’s guardian, the representative of a deceased victim’s estate, or someone who is acting on behalf of the resident with his or her consent.
Filing a lawsuit may allow you to hold the parties who abused or neglected your loved one accountable for their actions. You may also be able to recover economic damages, noneconomic damages, and punitive damages. The Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can provide a fair assessment of your potential claim and advise you of your options. Call us today at 479-783-8000 or contact us online for a free consultation.