OKLAHOMA CITY —Oklahoma is one of the worst states when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a national study conducted by a nonprofit elder advocacy group.
On its report card, Families for Better Care gave the state an “F” rating.
Proponents of a new law hope hidden cameras will change that.
Undercover cameras caught two caretakers abusing 96-year-old Eryetha Mayberry at an Oklahoma City nursing home. Police arrested the two women shown in the undercover video — Caroline Kaseke and Lucy Gakunga.
Kaseke bonded out of jail and has not shown up for court, authorities said. There’s currently a warrant out for her arrest.
The video prompted legislation allowing hidden cameras to be installed in nursing homes statewide. It was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in May and goes into effect on Nov. 1.
“So many things happen to loved ones in nursing homes. My grandmother was a nursing home victim. She died on her 86th birthday in May 2000,” said Wes Bledsoe, founder of A Perfect Cause, a nonprofit working to improve elderly care.
Bledsoe claims his grandmother suffered and believes undercover cameras could have saved her life. Since her death, Bledsoe worked to improve conditions in nursing homes and championed the Protect Our Loved Ones Act.
Some nursing homes wouldn’t allow cameras and threatened to evict residents whose families installed them. Now Bledsoe encourages every family with a loved one in a nursing home in Oklahoma to install an undercover camera.
“Hopefully this will help deter abuse and neglect. Let’s take every measure we can to protect those who can no longer protect themselves,” Bledsoe told KOCO 5.
Those who want to install a camera in a loved one’s room will have to pay for it. If your loved one shares a room, written consent from the roommate or the roommate’s guardian is required.