Investigation into Alleged Abuse at Veterans Center Continues

 There was a meeting today at the Veterans Center with family members, state representatives and representatives of the Veterans Affairs office.  It lasted for about 2 hours and discussion included how this happened and where to go from here.

Jody Maples father resides in the Veterans Center in Lawton. The family installed a camera in his room and captured some incidents on camera, which resulted in this meeting.  Maples fears if it happened to her father, it probably happened to other patients. In videos they recovered, one nurse, who was later dismissed, appears to use excessive force in getting the patient back in his bed after he fell out. The family says the other video shows staff taking a lengthy period to assist the patient.

 “I'm still concerned. I believe they realize this is not an isolated incident. The cameras are there because we have had other situations. I believe they are concerned about some of the things we have brought to the table, not just what our concerns are,” Maples said.

Oklahoma state representative Jeff Coody said this situation and the attention it brought  could bring about change.

“Let's just say it was a catalyst that has started a process,” Coody said. “This is not the first time something like this has ever happened, but it is something that has brought increased scrutiny. It will result in additional follow up and we want to address this situation so we can minimize these occurrences in the future.”

After seeing the video, Representative Coody said it shows sometimes there is a need for people to monitor care of their family members who live in assisted living facilities

“I'm not sure it's necessary in every situation because a lot of the residents here are very capable of taking care of themselves and they have a support system in place. There are some residents that may not have that,” Coody said. “I would say that it would be encouraged for those family members who are concerned about that, there is nothing to keep them from doing that.”

Maples is glad the situation is being addressed, but wishes it hadn't taken so long for the veteran’s administration to take action.

“I'm frustrated we had to get to this point,” Maples said. “I wish there would have been more involvement early on when we started raising concerns. It wasn't until we took it public that they finally wanted to pay close attention. It shouldn't have to get to this point but if this is where we had to get, that's what we were willing to do.”

The investigation is ongoing and no timeline is set on how long it may take. But both Maples and Representative Coody said the investigation will be thorough. Maples also said she does not believe these actions represent all of the staff at the Veterans Center.

The VA has set up a phone line for anyone who may have concerns about abuse or neglect and that phone number is 405-523-4014.

 

 


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