Recent shocking cases of abuse in Oklahoma nursing homes beg the question: how can you assess quality of care and spot neglect? Scoring systems analyze health standards and complaints to reveal safety issues.

Comparing Key Points

Type of Score What it Shows Who Creates it
Deficiency Citations Regulator-identified failures to meet standards State Health Departments
Complaint Reports Possible abuse, neglect or exploitation State Health Departments
Quality Rating Systems Overall quality based on health inspections, nurse staffing and quality measures Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

How do you check the quality and safety of a nursing home? 

The best resources are state health departments and federal centers that gather deficiency citations, complaint reports, and quality ratings. These scoring systems assess health standards, spotlight issues, and help choose better care.

August 2021: Abuse and Neglect at an Enid Nursing Home

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported multiple cases of physical/verbal abuse and neglect at the Enid Continuing Care Retirement Community. The allegations included improper conduct toward the residents by the employees.

  • Allegedly, the staff were verbally abusive
  • Failed to keep residents safe from abuse and harm

The claims detail incidents of:

  • Physical abuse
  • Neglecting to provide medication to residents
  • Failing to report a patient’s repeated seizures to doctors.

After several complaints were made, the administration did nothing to shield the residents from further incidents. The health department saw the repeated behavior of the staff as an immediate threat to residents’ safety and health, and at least three employees were later terminated.

March 2022 – OSDH investigates Marlow Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility 

The investigation began after incriminating photos of the facility popped up on Facebook.

Pictures of filthy bedrooms and bathrooms were taken and uploaded by a former nursing assistant at the facility.

The former employee also snapped pictures of patients suffering from bed sores and open wounds.

  • Under the pictures, she commented on the facility being understaffed
  • Staff neglecting and treating the patients poorly
  • She pleaded that these patients needed and deserved adequate care.

July 2022 – Former Nursing Home Caretaker Sentenced for Physical Abuse

Oklahoma City Adult Protective Services reported potential abuse of a resident at Reliant Living Center to the attorney general’s office. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigated, obtaining evidence and witness statements that the caretaker pushed the resident against a railing and down to the ground.

The former caretaker pleaded no contest to the felony charge of abuse in Oklahoma County District Court and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The remainder of her three-year sentence is to be spent on probation, and while on probation, she cannot seek employment as a caregiver for adults or children.

July 2022 – Caretaker Charged for Allegedly Slapping Resident at OKC Senior Living Center

  • The Oklahoma Attorney General charged the Edmond man for slapping an elderly resident at Villagio Senior Living in Oklahoma City.
  • The 37-year-old man worked through a third-party staffing agency as a contract nurse at the assisted living facility when the alleged assault occurred.
  • The MFCU investigation led to multiple witness statements and evidence that confirmed the caretaker struck the female resident in her face, above her eye.
  • The Oklahoma County Sheriff Deputy, working in conjunction with MFCU, arrested and charged the nurse with Abuse by Caretaker—a felony.
  • He could receive up to 10 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines if convicted.

Nursing Home Abuse by the Numbers

The above incidents of abuse are too common. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than 15,000 complaints regarding abuse or neglect were filed in 2020.

  • Data from the NCOA show that approximately five million people are affected in some way by elder abuse every year.
  • This is with less than 5% of the elderly reporting their abuse.

The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) reports nursing home residents are vulnerable to various forms of nursing home abuse. 

Nursing home abuse can take the form of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. Residents can be neglected, or someone could take advantage of them economically with financial abuse.

Important to Note: Abusers can be staff and other residents.

Nursing home abuse complaints break down into the following statistical categories:

  • 29% – Physical abuse
  • 22% – Physical or sexual abuse by another resident
  • 21% – Psychological abuse
  • 14% – Neglect
  • 7% – Financial exploitation
  • 7% – Sexual abuse

Forms of Neglect

Reporting in 2020 by the New York Times revealed gross mismanagement of nursing homes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A third of coronavirus deaths were linked to nursing homes.
  • Residents were transferred to homeless shelters, and distancing protocols were broken to bring in COVID-19 patients because it would increase a facility’s profits.

A lot of these deaths are attributed to neglect which comes in many forms, including:

  • Abandonment—Deserting a resident without regard for their health or safety
  • Emotional or Social Neglect—Leaving a resident alone and cutting off interactions with other residents, family, or friends
  • Neglecting Basic Needs—Failing to provide adequate food and water or a safe and clean environment
  • Neglecting Medical Needs—Failing to offer the proper medical treatment to a resident
  • Neglecting Personal Hygiene—Failing to provide for a resident’s hygiene standards like dental care, bathing, or ignoring soiled laundry
  • Self-Neglect—Failing to aid a resident who cannot help themselves and refuses help

Keeping Score on Oklahoma’s Nursing Homes

In 2012, Pro Publica compiled a nursing home database that ranks individual facilities based on regulator-cited deficiencies and imposed penalties and fines. The database factors the trends and patterns of the previous three years and gives the ability to search the inspection reports for almost 80,000 nursing homes nationally.

Locally, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OKDHS) offers the Long-Term Care Service—a division of Oklahoma’s Protective Health Services.

  • Long-Term Care gathers data and oversees the standards of health and safety for residents of licensed long-term care facilities.

These long-term care facilities include:

  • Nursing Homes 
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Continuum Of Care Homes
  • Intermediate Care Facilities Focused On Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Residential Care Homes

The services offered by Long Term Care include:

  • Conducting annual surveys in each facility for Licensure
  • Investigating complaints and reported abuse
  • Ensuring facilities correct deficiencies
  • Offering training for providers and staff
  • Providing inspection surveys with the facility’s contact information
  • Issuing a variety of forms associated with long-term care facilities

Reporting Abuse in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, anyone who has witnessed or suspects nursing home abuse is happening at a certain facility can email a complaint reporting abuse to the complaints and enforcement division of OKDHS.

  • Concerns can also be voiced by phone – 800-747-8419, or with Long Term Care Services – 405-271-6868.

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