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How to File a Complaint Against a Nursing Home in Arizona

According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten Americans over the age of 60 experiences some form of elder abuse. Nursing homes are both private and public residential facilities that provide high-end, long-term care to individuals who can no longer take care of themselves. Nursing homes are meant to assist the elderly, but instead often abuse their power. Caregivers and nursing home staff often experience underpayment and overwork, making them highly susceptible to cause abuse. If you or a loved one is currently in a nursing home, you should know how to file a complaint with a Phoenix assisted living abuse attorney.

What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse may include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Exploitation, neglect, and abandonment are also common forms of abuse in nursing homes.

• Physical abuse – Inflicting physical pain or injury upon an individual
• Sexual abuse – Touching, fondling, having intercourse, or any other sexual activity
• Emotional abuse – Using verbal assaults, threats of abuse, or harassment as a form of intimidation
• Confinement – Restraining or isolating an individual, for non-medical purposes
• Passive neglect – May include failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or other life necessities
• Willful deprivation – Includes denying an older adult medication, medical care, food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities

Who Should Report Elder Abuse?

According to Arizona state statute section A.R.S. § 46-451, requires specific caregiver and health care providers to report nursing home complaints, neglect, or abuse. These individuals include the following.

• Doctors
• Nurse practitioners
• Residents or interns
• Surgeons
• Psychologists
• Dentists
• Social workers
• Peace officers
• Persons responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult

Individuals who observe bruises, bedsores, poor hygiene, or unusual changes in mood should make a complaint with Adult Protective Services.

How to File a Complaint

Any individual may file a complaint against a nursing home. Individuals may file an oral or written complaint. The complaint should include the individual’s name, name of the elder adult, name and address of the nursing home, and details about the incidents including dates, times, and staff members involved.

In Arizona you can make a nursing home complaint to several different agencies.

• Local Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is a great first place to make a nursing home complaint. If you don’t know the exact agencies to report to, law enforcement will.

• Long Term Care Ombudsman

Long term care ombudsman is an agency in Arizona that advocates for nursing home residents. They advocate for individuals’ rights, quality of life, and care in nursing homes. If you file a complaint with long term care ombudsman, they will visit the nursing home to investigate your claim. Long term care ombudsman is responsible for resolving most complaints.

• Adult Protective Services

The Adult Protective Services is part of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Their role is to investigate reports of exploitation committed against nursing home residents.

To file a report with the Adult Protective Services, you may call the agency’s elder abuse hotline, 1-877-SOS-ADULT from Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You may also file a nursing home abuse complaint online anytime at

• Department of Health Services

This department is one of the biggest for investigating claims. The team of registered nurses and other health care professionals conduct annual state licensure and Medicare certification and recertification inspections to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.

Once you have filed your complaint, the appropriate authorities will begin their investigation. If their findings are not to your satisfaction you can file for an appeal. You may also contact a Phoenix elder abuse lawyer to help you with any part of the process.

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