According to a new Oklahoma law that took effect November 1, 2012, individuals convicted of crimes like first-degree robbery, assault and battery will be permitted to work in nursing homes across the state. This new legislation, while a potential solution for nursing home understaffing issues, raises serious concerns about the safety of nursing home residents in the care of convicted criminals in Oklahoma. Nursing home abuse – whether physical, emotional, financial or sexual – remains a serious problem in Oklahoma and across the United States, resulting in injury or even death to physically- or mentally-compromised elders. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of Oklahoma nursing home abuse, contact our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Atkins & Markoff to discuss your legal options.
NURSING HOME ABUSE STATISTICS
National statistics estimate that an alarming 30% of nursing home facilities in the United States have been cited for instances of nursing home abuse at one time or another. And now, this new nursing home law effectively changes what were formerly considered barriers for employment in the Oklahoma nursing home industry. According to the legislation, as long as seven years have passed since the completion of a convicted criminal’s sentence for indecent exposure, battery, assault, or robbery, an Oklahoma nursing home can now consider that individual for employment. With the implementation of this new Oklahoma law, the safety of elderly nursing home residents may be put at unnecessary risk.
ACCEPTABLE AND UNACCEPTABLE CONVICTIONS
While certain prior convictions would be considered acceptable for employment, more serious Oklahoma criminal offenses like child abuse, rape, kidnapping or murder would still be considered unemployable offenses under the new law. “There’s always been some problems with just a blanket ‘you can’t work in a nursing home,'” said Rebecca Moore, who helped author the bill as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers. James Joslin, Chief of Health Resources Development Service for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, agrees, saying, “There are folks out there who have rehabilitated themselves and should be given an opportunity.” Unfortunately, those Oklahomans whose family members and loved ones are residing in a nursing home facility in the state may not agree.
CONTACT OUR NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYERS FOR HELP
The decision to seek outside help from an assisted-living facility is not an easy one to make, but it is often a necessary step in ensuring that our loved ones receive the medical care and attention they require. Unfortunately, with the approval of this new Oklahoma law allowing convicted criminals to be employed by nursing home facilities, residents of the state may have newfound concerns about the safety of OK nursing home facilities. If you believe your loved one may have been the victim of nursing home abuse in Oklahoma, contact our knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyers at Atkins & Markoff for legal help. You may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home facility, in order to pursue financial compensation for your loved one’s alleged abuse-related injuries and necessary care.