Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma

Elder residents of nursing homes in Oklahoma are entitled to rights that guarantee their protection. Over the past few decades, Oklahoma has passed a number of specific nursing home abuse laws, most recently in 2013; the laws were amended to allow for video surveillance in private rooms to help improve the safety of patients further.

Personal Care and Nursing

Residents of nursing homes must have certain levels of personal care, such as being kept clean. Their clothing needs to be clean and dry, as do their bed linens. The personnel at the nursing home need to make sure that the residents are in the right type of clothing based on what they are doing at the time. They should always be dressed comfortably and appropriately.

Some of the requirements for nursing services in Oklahoma include:

  • Encouraging the patients to get out of bed and to be active
  • Keeping the residents properly hydrated
  • Preventing skin breakdown through proper skincare
  • Use support devices for proper alignment and positioning
  • Turning patients every two hours to help reduce the chance of bedsores
  • Creating toilet schedules and programs to encourage independence and improve continence among the residents
  • Updating care plans and assessments to show any changes in function – psychosocial, physical, and/or mental

Dietary Services for Nursing Homes in Oklahoma

All of the facilities in the state need to meet the nutritional requirements of their residents. A nutritionist and food service supervisor will develop dietary plans specific for individual residents of the facility. Each day, there needs to be at least three scheduled meals, and four hours should pass between each meal. If there are any residents at risk for poor nutrition, intervention is necessary. Food and drink must be available at all times and offered at any time, as long as it is in line with the resident’s dietary orders and their liking. All residents must be offered some type of nourishment before they go to bed.

Using Restraints

Physical and chemical restraints as a form of convenience or discipline are prohibited by law in Oklahoma. The only time that they can be used is for treating a medical condition or during an emergency. Most of the time, consent of a physician is needed before using any type of restraints. All physical restraints need to have some type of quick release. The law forbids locked restraints. A licensed nurse can use the restraints without a doctor’s order in order to prevent injuries, as long as they have tried other methods. During any period of restraint, the resident needs to be monitored, and they need to be released for at least ten minutes for every two hours.

Electronic Monitoring

Senate Bill 587 revised nursing home laws in 2013. This law allows residents of nursing homes and their loved ones, to install electronic monitoring devices in their rooms. The bill ensures that the facilities will not disallow these devices and it prohibits them from moving the devices or retaliating against the resident. Recorded footage can be used in both criminal and civil proceedings.

Other provisions in the bill include that shared room residents retain their privacy rights, since there needs to be consent of everyone who lives in the room before installing surveillance. Nursing homes need to accommodate room changes if a roommate does not consent to monitoring. The facilities need to post signs at their entrances letting people know that video and audio surveillance is permissible by the residents and those who represent them. These signs also need to show that there will be penalties for destroying, obstructing, or tampering with the installed devices and the footage they record.