Overview of Nursing Home Accidents and Abuse in Oklahoma
A nursing home accident or elder abuse can often go unnoticed by family members, making this type of injury particularly difficult to address. Usually, we don’t see our loved ones every day, or they may not be able to communicate or remember things that happened. More often than not, we’re left to trust the word of the staff and administration. And, while true accidents of course do happen, it’s only natural to wonder what could have been prevented.
Sadly, one major form of mistreatment comes in the form of abuse or neglect. Under Oklahoma law, there are a number of prohibited actions like the use of restraints in non-emergency instances, such as for discipline or convenience. There are also nutritional requirements for all residents such as having three regular meals a day and a dietary plan established by a nutritionist.
Since 2013, Oklahoma has also had a law in place that allows for electronic monitoring in private rooms to improve safety. Additionally, nursing home staff members are required to report any instance of abuse they become aware of to their administrator who then must take action to rectify it as well as report the details to the Department of Health.
If an accident does happen to a resident, the staff should report it to their administrator immediately and the family should also be notified. If you notice any injury or signs of neglect, you should notify the facility administrators immediately and document your findings by taking pictures or getting a statement from your loved one about the incident.
Common injuries come from falls, not getting enough physical exercise, or being handled roughly by staff members. If you notice signs of neglect like dirty clothing or bedding, evidence of physical restraints being used, or your loved one showing signs of depression, you should be concerned and consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. Sometimes these injuries are unavoidable, but other times it could be due to insufficient staff or intentionally harsh treatment.
Proving Abuse and Negligence
Proving abuse can be tricky since so much goes on behind closed doors, but the sooner you report your concerns the better. Figuring out who to hold liable will also take thorough investigation. Depending on your specific case, you may have grounds to seek damages from the owner or manager of the nursing home, from a staff member, or from a third-party vendor.
For example, if a staff member was found to be mistreating a resident, and it’s been shown that management knew about these actions and failed to respond to them, you could hold both parties liable. In any case, you need a skilled attorney to help file your claim and help prove liability.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Nursing home accidents and abuse can be particularly stressful cases. We naturally feel defensive when someone we love is hurt, and without being there, it's hard to know what your next steps should be.
I’ve been handling cases like this for years and have learned what to watch out for and how to get the information we need to litigate. By working together, we can ensure your family member is in a safe environment, that any injury or abuse they’ve sustained is addressed, and that this won’t happen to others.