Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Prevention: Is it possible?
I had the privilege of learning how to conduct Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Investigations from some of the finest legal minds in the State of Oklahoma and the State of Texas. The all too common trend in the long-term care industry has been to place profits over people. I was trained to uncover the details in each investigation that revealed how these facilities placed a dollar amount on an individual's worth. I hope that what I am able to impart to individuals and families today may help them if they are faced with the decision of placing a family member or loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
The State of Oklahoma is currently ranked by Families For Better Care as 49 out 51 (including the District of Columbia), thereby ranking the State of Oklahoma the 3rd worst state behind Louisiana (50) and Texas (51) for the care of elderly and disabled adults in nursing homes throughout the United States . In September of 2018 AARP released their annual national report with the following statistics   for Oklahoma:
*Lowest in the hours of care provided by registered nurses per resident per day;
*Highest in the use of anti-psychotic medications in long-stay patients without a psychiatric diagnosis;
*Highest in the use of anti-psychotic medications in long-stay patients;
*Second in rate of high-risk residents with pressure sores, which can lead to dangerous infections;
*Fourth in the percentage of long-stay residents with a hospital admission;
*Second in percentage of nursing facility residents with low-care needs--patients that could be better served with an alternative and less costly services.
So what can a family or individual do to aid in preventing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
If you're considering placing a member of your family into a nursing home or long-term care facility, do your research. An individual or family has a right to know who is going to be taking care of their loved one or ones.
First, conduct a search on the long-term care facility, in Oklahoma this can be done by running the search on the Oklahoma State Department of Health's website at Long Term Care Inspection Survey (Internet Explorer has to be used for the search function to operate correctly). Here you will be provided with any publicly available documents such as surveys, inspections, investigations, enforcement, and certification documents.
Second, Certified Nursing Aides and Certified Medical Aides are the backbone of every long-term care facility in the State of Oklahoma. A search can be conducted on Certified Nursing Aides (CNA) and Certified Medical Aides (CMA) at the Nurse Aide and Nontechnical Services Worker Registry (NARS) on the State of Oklahoma Department of Health's website. The only information you need to run the search is the individual's first and last name. If you don't know that information just ask the CNA or the CMA or one of the Registered Nurses (RN) in the facility.
Thirdly, conduct a search on the nurses that will be handling the care of your family member or loved one. There are multiple shifts that occur for the majority of all staff in a nursing home or long-term care facility so ensure that you are able to meet all of them. A search on any registered nursing staff in the State of Oklahoma can be conducted at the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) website. All you will need is their first and last name to conduct the search, however, unlike the CNA or CMA search on the State of Oklahoma Department of Health's website the Oklahoma Board of Nursing requires the license type of the individual the search is being conducted on whether it's an Advanced Unlicensed Assistant (AUA), a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or a Registered Nurse (RN).
It is my hope that every family has the resources to make a well informed decision when it comes to the care of their elders and family members.
*This article is not to be considered legal advice or a comprehensive method to prevent nursing home abuse and/or neglect. It is only an aid to provide a family or an individual with possible resources.