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Arkansas Elder Abuse And Neglect Prevention Guide

Recognizing Signs Of Elder Abuse

What you may have once dismissed as simply the signs of getting older, may be something more - elder abuse or neglect. The following guide may help you determine whether your loved one is a victim of elder abuse.

Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse can be the most obvious to detect. Take notice of any open wounds, cuts, bruises, welts, discoloration, or broken bones. If the facility staff cannot adequately explain what has happened, you should take steps to investigate into suspected elder abuse. Also, take note of any sudden change of behavior in your loved one. If he or she begins to cower when certain staff members approach, that could be a sign of physical elder abuse. If you witness someone engaging in elder abuse towards your loved one or another resident, take immediate action.

Emotional Elder Abuse
Emotional elder abuse may be more difficult to recognize. Signs of elder abuse can be your loved one acting unusually upset or agitated, extremely withdrawn, or noncommunicative. If you notice unusual behavior, like rocking in bed or sucking a thumb, you may be witnessing the aftershocks of serious emotional elder abuse. If your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, he or she may not tell you what is happening due to fear of retaliation from facility staff.

Elder Neglect
Elder neglect can also be difficult to determine. If you notice your loved one losing weight and becoming listless, he or she may not be getting the nourishment and food needed to maintain good health. Dry, cracked lips and skin can be signs of inadequate hydration and the need for more fluids. To detect other signs of elder neglect you may have to familiarize yourself with some of your loved one's more intimate areas. You may need to discretely examine undergarments and skin to see if they are soiled with feces or urine. Residents who lie in their waste are much more likely to develop preventable pressure sores.

If you recognize any of these signs of elder abuse and neglect, your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse. There are steps you can take if suspect elder abuse or neglect:

  1. Contact the administration of the Arkansas facility. Express your concerns and problems regarding potential elder abuse immediately and demand action be taken to counteract elder abuse.

  2. If you do not get any response from the Arkansas facility regarding your elder abuse suspicions, you should contact the Arkansas Office of Long-Term Care (contact information below) to file an Arkansas elder abuse complaint. The state will visit the facility and investigate the suspected elder abuse. Be sure to follow-up with the investigator to see what actions are being taken to prevent elder abuse.

  3. You should also contact the Arkansas Ombudsman. The Arkansas Ombudsman serves as a resident advocate and supports Arkansas residents' highest possible quality of life. The Arkansas Ombudsman is also responsible for investigating Arkansas elder abuse complaints and attempting to resolve concerns of Arkansas elder abuse made by, or on behalf of, Arkansas residents.

Elder abuse in any form should not be tolerated. You should take any and all steps necessary to protect the safety of those you love from elder abuse, including moving the resident to another facility. If you suspect elder abuse, you may need to take steps to enforce your legal rights.

Don't stand for elder abuse or neglect. Take action.

Resources Available to Victims of Elder Abuse or Neglect in Arkansas:
Listed below are resources in Arkansas that can help you ensure you or elders in your care remain free from Arkansas elder abuse:

Office of Long-Term Care (OLTC) 
The OLTC is a division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) and should be contacted if you wish to file a complaint due to abuse or neglect in an Arkansas nursing home. The OLTC is required by law to investigate each complaint. If the OLTC receives several complaints about the same facility in a short period of time, they will do a survey on that facility immediately. Complaints to the OLTC are made over the telephone or by mail.
P.O. Box 8059
Slot 400
Little Rock, AR 72203-8059
Toll-free: (800) LTC-4887
Direct: (501) 682-6321

When you file a complaint, you will need to know the following information:

  • The name of the resident, facility, and facility administrator
  • If the incident is an isolated or an on-going occurrence
  • The date, time, specific place, and/or time between occurrences if incident is an on-going occurrence
  • Name(s) of the staff member(s) involved, any witness, and other residents, family members and visitors involved
  • How the incident happened and the sequence of events leading up to the incident

Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
The two main functions of The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit are to investigate and prosecute providers who commit Medicaid fraud, and to investigate and bring to justice those who abuse the elderly and disabled in our nursing homes. The authority to protect nursing home residents derives from the Adult Abuse Act of the Arkansas Criminal Code, which forbids abuse, exploitation and/or neglect of the elderly. If you have reason to believe someone is abusing a Medicaid recipient or private-pay resident in a Medicaid-funded facility or is defrauding the Arkansas Medicaid Program, contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Office of the Attorney General
323 Center Street
Little Rock, AR 72201-2610
(501) 682-7760

Wilkes & McHugh, P.A.
Arkansas elder abuse attorneys at Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. have represented many victims of elder abuse and neglect and their families. Our Arkansas elder abuse lawyers have received national recognition for our efforts on behalf of victims of elder abuse.

If someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse in Arkansas, contact our Arkansas elder abuse attorneys at 1-800-255-5070 or click here to have an attorney contact you.

Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. has helped thousands of families achieve justice when their loved ones were the victims of elder abuse. If you suspect someone you love is the victim of elder abuse, call Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. at 800-255-5070 or click here to have an Arkansas elder abuse attorney contact you.