Oklahoma law protects a nursing home resident’s rights to health and safety; however, our Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyers at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys explain that many potential residents are being forced to waive those rights as part of the admission process.
An arbitration agreement is a legally binding document between two parties that is often used to prevent one party from suing the other in court. Despite state laws prohibiting nursing homes from requiring arbitration agreements to be signed by patients prior to admission, some studies have shown as many as 312 facilities in the state are using these documents.
An article from KGOU News highlighted the risks these agreements can have by telling the stories of several families whose lives were affected by arbitration agreements that were signed to get loved ones into nursing homes. Several of the families remain entangled in their legal battle.
It seems as though the law regarding arbitration agreements for Oklahoma’s nursing home patients will remain in limbo for some time as well. Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make arbitration agreements at nursing homes binding.
At Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys, we know you only want what is best for your loved ones, but our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers strongly suggest you refrain from signing any sort of arbitration agreement before you have it examined by a qualified legal representative. Doing so will help to ensure you and your loved one’s rights are protected at all times.
When we send a loved one to live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, we expect them to receive quality care and treatment. Unfortunately for many though, that’s not always the case. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that as many as one third of all nursing home residents will become the victims of abuse or neglect this year.
For the victims of nursing home abuse and their families, it’s important to know there are actions you can take to protect your legal rights. In many cases, civil litigation can work to hold the parties who were responsible for your injuries accountable for their actions.
In fact, three Oklahoma women recently won a nursing home abuse lawsuit they filed on behalf of their mother. They claimed their mother’s caretakers were physically abusive and that management of the facility where their mother lived failed to take corrective action when informed of the behavior staff was engaging in.
According to an article from KFOR 4 News, a hidden camera was able to catch one caregiver shoving a latex glove in the 96-year-old victim’s mouth and another caregiver hitting the patient in the head. The women stated they informed nursing home management of the issue; however, no corrective action was taken.
A jury sided with the daughters and awarded them $1.2 million in compensatory damages and another $10,000 in punitive damages.
The Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys are hopeful the decision will bring a sense of closure to the incident for the family of the victim.
The numbers reflecting the rate of nursing home abuse in the United States are astounding. As many as one third of elderly nursing home patients are expected to become the victims of abuse or neglect this year alone. Furthermore, 1,000 elderly Oklahoma patients are expected to die this year as a result of abuse or neglect. These numbers are considered conservative due to a high number of cases that go unreported.
To help combat Oklahoma nursing home abuse, lawmakers in the state are hoping to pass a bill that will help create more accountability in the industry. The bill—known as House Bill 1110— would create a review board consisting of eleven individuals. The panel would then review cases where a patient was killed or seriously harmed to determine if abuse or neglect was a contributing factor.
According to an article from KFOR 4 News, legislators are expected to review and discuss HB 1110 during the legislative session that kicked off today.
Until more is done to reduce rates of Oklahoma nursing home abuse, it’s important to remember that patients remain at risk of harm. That’s why the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Colbert Cooper Hill offer these tips to help keep your loved ones safe:
- Visit Often– Data indicates elderly patients who have frequent visitors are less likely to become the victims of abuse or neglect.
- Ask Questions– Discussing your loved one’s treatment with staff is crucial to ensuring they are receiving the care they deserve.
- Report Anything Questionable- Whether it’s an unexplained bruise or a change in personality, it’s important that any issues with your loved one’s care be reported to management and the proper authorities immediately.
- Talk to a Lawyer- A legal representative will be able to answer any questions regarding you and your loved one’s legal rights.
Mental illness is a prominent condition in nursing homes across the United States today. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than two-thirds of nursing home residents are afflicted with conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Traditionally, antipsychotic medications were used to treat many of these patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called for warning labels to be placed on the packaging of these particular drugs after it was discovered they could lead to an increased chance of a drug injury like heart failure, infection, and death in elderly patients with mental illness. Despite these warnings, more than 300,000 nursing home residents continue to receive treatment using antipsychotic drugs.
The federal government is pushing to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes by:
- Promoting Individualized Care- A patient’s history, lifestyle, and preferences should be taken into consideration. An article from NPR News used an example of letting a former night watchmen stay up at night after curfew and allowing him to sleep during the day.
- Supporting Educational Campaigns- Federal programs that provide training to nursing home staff are currently under-utilized, considering approximately 10 nursing homes in a Texas county that has 96 such facilities took part in a free training DVD provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Strictly Enforcing the Law- The Nursing Home Reform Act states residents have a right to be free from chemical restraints, yet few nursing homes are penalized for using antipsychotic drugs as a means to control a patient’s behavior.
At Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys, we are aware of the need to provide better care for the elderly in nursing homes. That’s why our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers are here to help you if your loved one was harmed as the result of taking antipsychotic medications while being housed in a long-term care facility. We’re available to speak with you anytime by calling (877) 579-6800.
Getting quality care for your loved one in Oklahoma can be difficult. In fact, one study just ranked Oklahoma 49th in the nation when it comes to nursing home care. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 patients of long-term care facilities in the state will become victims of Oklahoma nursing home abuse this year.
These disturbing numbers are said to be the result of a failed elderly care system in our state. This position was supported by a case of elder abuse that came before the state’s courts recently.
According to KOCO News, an 80-year-old patient at an Oklahoma nursing facility alleged that on May 9, 2010, a caretaker grabbed her by the arm with such force that the patient’s wrist was broken. A complaint was filed against the nursing home and staff member, which led to the court handing down a $15 million judgment on behalf of the victim. Despite the ruling, the perpetrator never faced criminal prosecution.
Instances like this leave many wondering what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm inflicted by caretakers at nursing facilities. The state is working to find ways to prevent such acts from occurring, but in the meantime, speaking with an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer may be your best bet if you or a loved one are the victims of abuse.
At Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys, we have decades of experience assisting victims of abuse or neglect and helping them get the compensation they deserve. We want to do the same for you. Just call us at (877) 579-6800 to learn more.
Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse shows as much as one-third of all residential medical care facilities will become the victims of nursing home abuse this year. This estimate is said to be on the conservative end though because of the number of cases that go unreported.
One man is working to break the cycle of Oklahoma nursing home abuse in the state by coming forward with his own injuries. The man was admitted to the nursing home after suffering a serious illness. During his stay though, he claims one of the nurses caring for him balled up her fist and punched him in the stomach on several occasions with bruises on his abdomen being visible several days after the alleged incident occurred.
According to an article from KFOR 4 News, the victim’s wife has since removed her husband from the medical facility and is taking action to hold the parties responsible for her husband’s injuries liable for their actions.
This leads many to wonder what they can do if they or a loved one are the victims of Oklahoma nursing home abuse. The consensus to this concern seems to be reporting the problem.
When nursing home abuse occurs, victims and their families should not only report the incident to their local police department, but also the Department of Health and DHS Adult Protective Services. TheOklahoma personal injury lawyers with Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys say taking such action creates a sense of accountability to patients in nursing home settings.
Nursing home abuse is a major problem in Oklahoma today. The state recently ranked 48th in the nation when it comes to the quality of care nursing home residents receive. The Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers with J. Colbert Personal Injury Lawyers point out that despite these findings, lawmakers are doing little to protect the elderly’s rights to quality care, and are instead passing laws that make holding those responsible for elder abuse accountable more difficult.
An article released by Take Part explains that a lack of proper staffing and failure to conduct proper background checks on staff are two of the problems leading to the state’s failing rating. Rather than creating laws that stiffen regulations and penalties in these areas though, legislators are continuing to work towards passing bills that limit the amount of damages victims of nursing home abuse or neglect can receive through civil litigation. The state passed a law in 2009 that established such limits, but it was removed from the books after the state’s Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.
This leaves many wondering what action they can take if they suspect their loved one is not receiving proper care at a nursing home. J. Colbert’s team of Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers explains that proving negligence in healthcare can be a complex process. They urge anyone who has suffered due to abuse or negligence from a caregiver to discuss their legal rights with an attorney.