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Oklahoma nursing home, assisted living residents have rights

When we help our loved ones take the next step in their lives and move into an assisted living facility or nursing home, we expect that they will be well taken care of and treated with respect.

However, we've also heard the horror stories about such living situations gone awry. So what are the signs that your loved one might be the victim of abuse or neglect in an Oklahoma nursing home or assisted living location?

  1. Confusion, disorientation or extended sleep. This could occur because of overmedication.
  2. Injuries that can't be explained. This includes everything from broken bones to bruises to dislocations that could happen during poor transfers or even the administration of medication.
  3. Evidence of poor personal hygiene. This includes wearing dirty clothing and body odor.
  4. Immobility. This occurs if staff does not ensure a resident is helped to walk or given exercise.
  5. Bedsores or open wounds. This occurs when a person is confined to bed or doesn't receive medical care for known issues.
  6. Dehydration or malnourished. Look for sudden weight loss, weakness, cracked lips or a report of reduced urine production.
  7. Unexplained accidents or falls. This indicates the lack of supervision or assistance.
  8. Anxiety or agitation. That could result from emotional abuse of staff members.

Each of these warning signs of elder abuse or neglect should be taken seriously and reported to staff in charge right away, as well as to your loved one's physician. There could be a medical condition behind some of these things.

If no medical diagnosis comes to light, you'll need to take further action. Contacting Oklahoma's long-term care ombudsman is a good start. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance as well. Your loved one has legal rights.

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