If you suspect your elderly loved one could be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Arizona, you may be asking yourself “how do I report a nursing home to the state?” While a nursing home abuse attorney can assist you with this process, you may want to start the complaint filing process immediately, before you have chosen an attorney.
The guide below is a resource for families who are seeking to help their loved ones seek justice for elder abuse in Arizona. We discuss the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, how to file a complaint against a nursing home for abuse and how we can help you.
SIGNS OF NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Before filing a nursing home abuse complaint, it is important to gather information regarding your loved one’s injuries or ailments. You may be unsure of whether your loved one’s injuries are a normal sign of aging or could indicate nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, far too many people miss the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse, attributing the signs to deteriorating mental and physical health due to aging.
If your loved one lives in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, we recommend studying the warning signs of elder abuse. There are several types of elder abuse.
PHYSICAL ELDER ABUSE WARNING SIGNS:
- Signs of unexplained injuries. This could include scars, bruises, and welts.
- Broken bones, dislocations, or sprains
- Broken eyeglasses
- The caregiver refuses to allow you to see your loved one alone
ELDER NEGLECT WARNING SIGNS:
- Unusual weight loss. This could be a result of malnutrition and dehydration.
- Untreated physical problems (i.e. bed sores)
- Left dirty or unbathed
- Unsafe living conditions (i.e. no air conditioning, fire hazards)
- Unsanitary living conditions. (i.e. soiled bedding)
Any of these behaviors may be signs of abuse. In some instances, caretakers might refuse visitors entirely or refuse to allow an elderly person to be alone with visitors.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is important to file a complaint quickly and then seek protection for your loved one.
HOW TO REPORT A NURSING HOME TO THE STATE
Elder abuse is rarely reported to authorities by the victim. Fear, social isolation or the inability to file a report due to physical or mental impairments keep victims from reporting these crimes.
If you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, do not hesitate to report the situation. Keep a detailed record and report the incident to the proper authorities.
In Arizona, elder abuse or neglect can be reported to:
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Area Agency on Aging
- Attorney General’s Task Force Against Senior Abuse (TASA)
The proper channel for your report will depend on the type of help you need. See the options below for emergency and non-emergency assistance.
If the situation is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or the police department immediately.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
The Arizona Department of Health Services offers an online system for filing a complaint against a nursing home, which is state-licensed. The form will require you to answer basic questions regarding where the suspected abuse took place, who perpetrated the abuse, who your loved one is, and when you suspect the abuse occurred. They will also require additional information regarding witnesses to the abuse or police involvement. Once the form is completed, it is then sent for prioritizing to the appropriate licensing office.
Your contact information will be required in the event more information is required. However, officials want those who use the system to know it is confidential and secure.
This complaint form is available at www.azdhs.gov, or complaints can be filed via phone at 1-602-364-2536. If you are curious about a nursing home’s latest state inspection results, you can go to www.azdhs.gov/als/ltc/index.htm for this information which includes any citations issued. You can go in person to 150 North 18th Avenue in Phoenix, to the fourth floor where licensing information can be viewed.
ARIZONA ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
You can also file a complaint regarding neglect or abuse of an elderly individual online with Arizona Adult Protective Services (www.azdes.gov/reportadultabuse) or by calling 1-877-767-2385. If your loved one’s nursing home accepts Medicare or Medicaid, you can access government ratings for the facility at www.medicare.gov.
If the situation is not an emergency but physical abuse is a factor, you can also call the Area Agency on Aging or TASA.
- Area Agency on Aging 24-Hour Helpline – (602) 264-4357
- Task Force Against Senior Abuse (TASA) Helpline – (602) 542-2124
GET THE LEGAL HELP YOU NEED
Elder abuse is a serious issue in Arizona and across the United States. According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, between 4,600 and 6,900 seniors will experience some type of abuse each year in Arizona. Older seniors are generally most vulnerable to abuse and neglect due to isolation, physical or mental disabilities, and their dependence on others. If you believe that your loved one is not receiving quality care or has suffered abuse, the time to take action is now. Abused elderly individuals need advocates to seek justice under the law.
CONSULT WITH AN ARIZONA NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER
After you have reported the incident, consider consulting with an Arizona elder abuse lawyer. If a nursing home failed to keep your loved one safe and the staff was unable to keep up with his or her daily needs, you may have a legal case against the facility.
The Miller Kory Rowe LLP team believes that the only way to shine a light on cases of nursing home abuse and neglect is through aggressive litigation. We are proud to say that our nursing home abuse attorneys have helped many families seek justice for their loved ones.