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New bill could help prevent nursing home abuse in Oklahoma

Many Oklahoma residents are worried about the well-being of their loved ones who are placed in nursing homes. Probably the concern arises when people think about the level of attention and care those loved ones need against the various reported incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect commonly featured in the media. Though many incidents of nursing home neglect and abuse may not be fatal or cause great harm but there have been some cases of nursing home deaths.

However, a new bill introduced in the Oklahoma legislature may now make it possible for a nursing home to be held liable if a resident dies or suffers serious injury while in a nursing home setting. According to reports, the new law would create a review board empowered to investigate all cases of injuries and death at nursing homes in Oklahoma. The investigations would be targeted toward determining if the death or injury was a result of abuse or negligence.

According to reports, as many as 3,500 elderly Oklahoma nursing home residents die every year as a result of abuse or neglect. Moreover, Families for Better Care, which is a non-profit organization that rates state-owned nursing facilities, graded Oklahoma as “F” with an overall ranking of 49, making it among the worst states in the country for elderly care. The state’s effort to improve and provide the best possible care to elderly residents is long overdue and necessary to burnish the state’s reputation due to the harm suffered by the low ranking.

Nursing home neglect has always been a major concern for many people living in Oklahoma. However, Tulsa residents should know that Oklahoma laws permit residents and their family members to sue a nursing home for compensation and damages for a personal injury or wrongful death. Although it may sound easy, filing a lawsuit comes with unique legal complications and therefore, it may advantageous to engage an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse.

Source: KFOR.com, “New bill aims to hold nursing homes accountable following suspicious deaths,” Lacey Lett, Jan. 28, 2015

 

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