Advocates for Texas nursing home residents are calling for tougher oversight of abuse cases, saying state inspectors and local law officers need to coordinate joint investigations better, reports the Dallas Morning News. They said police should get more training and be brought in when state regulators receive any allegations of abuse or neglect – a dual inquiry aimed at protecting evidence that might be used in a criminal prosecution.
“If something happened to you in your residence, you wouldn’t call a state regulatory agency; you need a police officer and an emergency medical technician who’s trained in investigating elder abuse,” said Gay Nell Harper of the Texas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents. The Morning News reported Sunday that a criminal investigation into two former workers at a state nursing home for veterans in West Texas lingered for more than two years because of conflicts among local police, state officials, and nursing home administrators. Although police first looked into abuse allegations in 2007 at the Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez State Veterans Home in Big Spring, they yielded to the state department’s inspectors. The Howard County district attorney said the state aging agency and police should have been working together.