Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma – How to Report Your Case


Laura Schaefer

Between 2010 and 2022, the Sooner State of Oklahoma saw its population rise nearly 8%. Like other states, Oklahoma’s 65+ age group is its fastest growing demographic. Due to an increased demand for skilled caretakers, nursing home abuse in Oklahoma sadly occurs and must be stopped.

Oklahoma is rated the worst state for senior care staffing according to recent news reporting. Medicaid pays for the stay of about 70% of residents in Oklahoma nursing homes. More outside funding may sound appealing, but the total amount falls short of the daily cost of care for each resident.

This leads to staffing shortages and neglect as it is difficult for facilities to hire and retain workers.

If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in an Oklahoma nursing home, it’s time to speak with a nursing home neglect attorney. Your loved one deserves a settlement payment for their suffering. If you live in or near Tulsa or Oklahoma City and know an abuse victim in a nursing home, it is time to take action.

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Oklahoma Nursing Home Resident Rights

Oklahoma nursing home residents have many enumerated rights under state law. This includes the right to make independent personal decisions and to be informed of available choices.

Multiple examples of these rights include the right to:

  • Privacy and confidentiality of personal and medical records
  • Respect for one’s personal belongings, including secure storage of one’s possessions (and a 30-day notice of transfer for Medicare or Medicaid-certified facilities)
  • Making necessary complaints without fear of discrimination or retaliation from nursing home staff or government officials
  • Spousal visits, even sharing a room with your spouse when residing in the same nursing home
  • Overseeing one’s own finances, unless the responsibility is transferred to another party in writing

Residents also reserve the right to connect with other residents through community activities in the facility. The most important right Oklahoma nursing home residents possess is the right to respectful treatment and reasonable care.

If your loved one’s facility fails to deliver on these rights, you may qualify for a nursing home abuse claim. These nursing home resident rights are protected by Oklahoma state and federal law, so don’t let them get away with abusive practices.

Respectful Treatment

Residents have the right to receive courteous and respectful care. Your loved one must receive services with reasonable accommodation of their individual needs and preferences.

An exception to this rule occurs if your accommodations endanger your life and the lives of other residents. With sufficient staffing and trained employees, nursing homes have the power to provide a safe experience for your loved one.

Residents reserve the right to demand for safe living conditions. If the facility chooses to not deliver, or worse yet, unlawfully retaliate against your loved one, defend yourself through expert legal representation.

Abuse and Restraints

Residents are entitled to freedoms from mental and physical abuse, including:

  • Corporal punishment
  • Involuntary seclusion
  • Overuse of physical or chemical restraints

Restraints may be authorized in writing by a physician for a specified period of time. The resident or their representative must be consulted, and have the right to refuse.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma

Nursing home abuse generally falls under the following categories, each ranging in severity depending on the case. For questions about your case, or why your abuse claim may not qualify, call a nursing home abuse attorney.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

When a nursing home resident suffers from intentional bodily harm from a caretaker, they are suffering from nursing home physical abuse.

Examples of physical abuse include:

  • Skin bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Burns
  • Bone fractures
  • Soft tissue swelling

Not every form of nursing home abuse is as direct as physical abuse, however. Nursing home emotional abuse is any behavior or talk intended to upset or confuse nursing home residents. Some examples of this include verbal harassment, isolation, psychological manipulation or repeated threats of harm or neglect.

Financial Abuse

Financial exploitation focuses on stealing or controlling funds from nursing home residents.

Examples of nursing home financial abuse include financial transfers, theft, changing wording of wills, changing banking information like debit or credit cards, and taking control of a patient’s accounts.

There is a reasonable worry that your loved one’s nursing home will take advantage of their money and assets. There are government protections against deceptive financial practices. For specific assistance, you’ll need a lawyer to analyze your case and prove your claim in a court of law.

Sexual Abuse

This type of abuse refers to subjection to sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime. It may feel unthinkable that your loved one suffers from sexual abuse, but cases have happened where medical conditions raise the chances of them to be taken advantage of.

Examples of sexual abuse include:

  • Unwanted sexual touching or verbiage
  • Taking or distributing sexual photos without consent
  • Manipulation to perform sexual acts
  • Forced nudity or penetration


When a nursing home withholds basic care and human interaction to residents, that can be considered nursing home neglect. Common examples of nursing home neglect include letting residents remain in bed for too long, causing bed sores, failing to provide walkers and wheelchairs when needed, and forgetting to give medication to residents.

Spotting Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect nursing home abuse, look for:

  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Unexplained loss of mobility
  • Repeated ER visits
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Bed sores
  • Repeated infections
  • Malnutrition or dehydration

Emotional abuse leaves no direct physical injuries, but there are signs this type of behavior is happening:

  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Less eye contact than normal when loved ones visit
  • Being unwilling to speak freely or answer questions
  • Isolation
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Emotional distress when left alone

The best way to spot signs of nursing home abuse is through properly communicating with your loved one.

Victims of abuse may hide their condition due to feelings of guilt or regret for their situation. Ensure their safety so they can reveal what’s happening. Also ensure the protection of their rights through an attorney, so they can remain truthful without fear of retaliation.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma

Nursing home abuse is sadly common due to ongoing staffing issues in the nursing home industry. Underpaying and overscheduling staff members leads to neglect, and both are common due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates in Oklahoma.

Abuse and neglect also occurs due to a facility’s administration failing to train or supervise staff.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Oklahoma

Anyone who believes a nursing home violated state or federal regulations may file a complaint to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. You may submit a complaint in writing, by telephone, e-mail, or in person.

Complaints are confidential unless otherwise indicated by the complainant. If a violation has taken place, the department can schedule an unannounced investigation and will make written findings available.

A written report will be provided to the complainant and the facility after the findings are made. The investigative report may be sent to one other person at the request of the complainant.

Oklahoma Ombudsman

​​The Ombudsman Program serves residents in Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living and similar adult care homes.

An Ombudsman helps improve the quality of life and the quality of care available to long-term care facility residents. Ombudsman volunteers are dedicated to assisting vulnerable adults residing in long-term care nursing homes.

To file a complaint, e-mail [email protected].

Damages You May Receive in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

If you suffered financial, emotional, or physical losses from Oklahoma nursing home abuse, you may qualify for compensation in the form of damages.

There are two types of damages you can file for in a nursing home abuse claim:

  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages

The ones legally responsible for such damages depend on the case. If you preserve evidence like witness testimonies and medical records, your attorney will have an easier time defending your rights. The more evidence that proves negligence and abuse, the higher the chances of compensation for your losses.

Compensatory Damages

Economic and non-economic damages are filed under compensatory damages, or the compensation for harm, injury, or expenses inflicted on the liable defendant(s).

Economic damages: Measurable expenses suffered due to abuse or neglect. These expenses may include:

  • Medical care
  • Relocation costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental health treatment
  • Burial costs

Non-economic damages are the non-measurable losses from abuse. Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages punish excessively negligent or malicious behavior that causes needless damage to those around the perpetrator. There are damage caps in Oklahoma law that limit your punitive damages by the following amounts, depending on which is greatest:

  • $500,000
  • Twice the amount of actual damages awarded, or
  • The profits gained by the nursing home through their harsh behavior towards your loved one

You’ll need skilled legal guidance to prove your case deserves additional compensation separate from compensatory damages.

Find an Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer with LegalASAP

Nursing home abuse attorneys typically work under contingency fees. This means your family won’t have to pay them until your loved one’s settlement arrives. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process and secure your family a much higher settlement than if you represent yourself.

Not sure how to locate an attorney to represent your Oklahoma nursing home abuse case? LegalASAP’s attorney network of 500+ law firms can connect you with an experienced legal advocate in Oklahoma.

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author ofThe Teashop Girls,The Secret Ingredient, andLittler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and