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Rally and hearing held in OKC to address nursing home neglect

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Oklahoma City_A rally and hearing were held Wednesday at the State Capitol to address Oklahoma's failing score in nursing home quality.

A study conducted by Families for Better Care, a Florida-based nursing home advocacy group, ranked Oklahoma 48th in the nation for quality of care.  

Neglect, under-staffed and under-trained nursing homes were just some of the problems that the study uncovered. 

Families from all over the state came to share what their experiences have been with their loved ones in Oklahoma's nursing homes.

"A Perfect Cause" is a citizen advocate group for nursing home residents. The president and co-founder, Wes Bledsoe, hopes Wednesday's rally and hearing will spread awareness. 

"If you don't have a loved one in a nursing home today, you or a loved one will be in a nursing home in the future. And if you wait until you or that loved one are in a nursing home before you change the system...it's too late. You can't do anything about it," said Bledsoe. 

This past session a law was passed that will allow families, starting November 1st, to put cameras in their loved ones' rooms without the nursing home being able to interfere.

Bledsoe believes that's an excellent step toward protecting residents. He said it's impossible to know exactly how many assaults, rapes, and injuries occur to residents, because there's not a system in place to track it.  He said he's been pursuing the governor to change that for months.

"Where's the sense of urgency to protect the residents instead of protecting the nursing home operators? So, today we are hopeful that people will listen and start paying attention. That we're going to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. The big question I have is, when does the Oklahoma standard apply for Oklahoma's nursing home residents?" 

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