The country was floored by the news that a Phoenix nursing home patient who was in a coma for more than 10 years gave birth recently. These extreme cases of nursing home abuse are eye opening, but there are thousands of cases of nursing home abuse in Arizona every year.
When a loved one goes to a nursing home, they are doing so to get the around-the-clock care they need. A nursing home should be a safe haven for them, not a place of abuse. Unfortunately, abuse cases happen too frequently.
A 2015 Cronkite News report found nearly 14,000 cases of abuse for vulnerable and elderly adults, an increase of 19 percent over 2014. Of that, 3,661 involved physical abuse, 4,000 involved financial exploitation, and 9,408 involved some other form of neglect.
Luckily, there are resources to report nursing home abuse in Phoenix, through services provided by Adult Protective Services.
What Does Arizona’s Nursing Home Abuse Law Say?
In Arizona, a person who has the responsibility for the care of “vulnerable adults” must report any cases of abuse or neglect. In most cases, though, the abuse isn’t widely known to the entire staff, or even to more than one person.
Abuse or neglect in Arizona is defined as:
- General neglect
- Financial exploitation
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
In 2007, as a way to strengthen laws on nursing home abuse, the Arizona legislature created the Adult Protective Services (APS) Registry. Those found guilty of nursing home abuse have their names added to the APS Registry.
The APS Registry lists the name and date of birth of the perpetrator, the findings (such as exploitation or abuse), the date they were placed on the registry and a description of the incident of which they were found guilty.
Perpetrators who were placed on the APS Registry before July 3, 2015 will have their names remain there for 10 years, and those who were placed on the list after that date will remain on the APS Registry for 25 years.
Report All Cases of Nursing Home Abuse
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you should immediately report it to APS through the Arizona Department of Economic Security. You can do this by calling the APS hotline at 877-SOS-ADULT (877-767-2385) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. You can also report cases of nursing home abuse online at any time at www.azdes.gov/reportadultabuse.
The information you submit will be confidential, but APS will need your name and contact information in case follow-up inquiries are needed. APS suggests you provide as detailed and thorough a report of the incidents as you can. If your case meets the investigative criteria, it will be reported to a local field office for further investigation within eight business hours.
The Right Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
In addition to reporting nursing home abuse to the APS, it’s important that you hire an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in the Phoenix area to fight for you and your loved one’s rights. Call the nursing home lawyers Phoenix at Miller Weber Kory LLP at (602) 648-4045.