Seniors Voice Concerns Over Oklahoma's Nursing Homes
TULSA, Oklahoma - Protecting Oklahoma seniors was a topic Thursday night as citizens voiced their concerns about the state of Oklahoma's nursing homes at a town hall meeting in Brookside.
It was more than a question and answer session about choosing a better place for senior care. Advocates for abuse victims pushed for more reform and ways to protect future residents.
"I'm getting to the age to where I'm going to be needing help and so on and so forth, I'd like to know what's going on," said Rose Goad.
Goad and other seniors at Thursday’s town hall meeting were worried about nursing homes and the care they provide.
When asked what worried her the most, Goad said, “The abuse. The abuse at the nursing homes is terrible."
People attending the meeting are unsure about trusting the care provided at nursing homes.
"I wouldn't want to go there. I wouldn't want to go to any of these places. I would do anything to keep from going to one of them," said Adelle Stults.
Advocates like Wes Bledsoe are trying to fix what he calls a broken system.
"Right now Oklahoma is in a crisis," he said.
Bledsoe said thousands of Oklahomans are dying every year from human rights violations in nursing homes and officials in charge of regulating the state's the nursing homes are asleep at the wheel.
“The biggest problem we have right now is an out of control system with no accountability," Bledsoe said.
Goad's friend Charlene Norris works as an advocate with the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature. She used Thursday’s meeting to propose reforms to state lawmakers.
"Right now the situation is dire," she said.
Families for Better Care said Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to nursing home care.
Bledsoe said key officials in charge of monitoring nursing homes need to be fired.
"We can't fix it when you have people who are setting the policies that are not going to abide by and enforce the laws," he said.
Legislation was recently passed to allow recording devices in patients' rooms.
In the meantime, Bledsoe said if you suspect nursing home abuse, you should call 911.