Zevan and Davidson Law Firm Articles Coroner Granted Permission to Do Spot Checks, Hopefully Preventing Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Coroner Granted Permission to Do Spot Checks, Hopefully Preventing Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

By David Zevan  Jul. 15, 2013 8:37a

In Arkansas actions are being taken to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect, to tackle the area’s nursing home neglect problem, and to ensure that the elderly are being properly cared for. Reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes are being reported at an alarming rate, not only in Arkansas, but across the country. In March Arkansas granted the Washington County Coroner permission to do spot checks on residents at various nursing homes.

The ability to do spot checks in cases of nursing home deaths should allow the coroner’s office to take a closer look at the details of residents’ cases, looking at hospital visits, and details like bruises and accidents. This will give family members some assurance that loved ones are being watched. Roger Morris, of the Washington County Coroner’s Office, has stated he was at a conference when he heard a story of a local man whose mother died as the result of abuse and neglect at a nursing home. He requested the extra money from the county in order to do spot checks to investigate deaths and hopefully prevent further instances of abuse.

Prior to these grants, nursing homes were required to report deaths, but there was no required additional follow-up. “We want them to know that there’s someone out there watching,” Morris said. Each death can be investigated now.

Morris says that this is about helping, not demonizing nursing homes. “We may go through 20 before we have one do something bad that one person goes to work there causes neglect, we don’t want to put a bad shine on all these other nursing homes. It’s not hounding nursing homes, it’s not making bad examples, it’s helping them.” He continues on to say "You have to be a very special individual to work in a nursing facility or I can see where you might snap and by us doing spot checks, we can prevent that from happening."

In the past few years the coroner’s office has only seen four deaths that resulted from nursing home abuse or neglect, but that was before spot checks. Morris hopes that they will not uncover more cases of abuse or neglect leading to deaths, but that instead working with the nursing homes will help to educate caregivers and care facilities, preventing further abuses.

Family members who suspect that nursing home abuse or neglect is taking place should report the abuse immediately and contact a nursing home abuse attorney in their area. Victims and their family members have the right to file civil charges against facilities, caregivers, and employees who perpetrate abuses. These individuals may face criminal charges as well.

Preventingnursing home abuse and neglect is important. Family members should educate themselves about the signs of abuse so that they can be aware of and report abuse as soon as they see any signs. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney who can assist in investigating and filing personal injury claims.

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