If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Arizona, or if you have concern for your own well-being in an elder abuse situation, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. In addition to knowing how to protect yourself and your loved ones, it is essential to know how and where to file a nursing home complaint when abuse is suspected. Emotions can run high when you believe a loved one is being mistreated. Fortunately, Arizona recognizes the seriousness of elder abuse and abundant resources are available. This guide is intended to provide practical information and actionable steps to help you navigate Arizona law and to help you find the pathway forward in filing your nursing home complaint.
Emergency Contact Information
If this is an emergency and you or a loved one is in harm’s way, call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.
In any situation in which an individual is under immediate danger or threat against their person or property, do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement. They can provide safety and connect you with the appropriate channels to seek recovery.
Adult Protective Services (APS) of Arizona
Hours: M-F 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Sun. 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
or File a Complaint Online (Available 24/7)
Adult Protective Services of Arizona is a state organization operated by the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the Division of Aging and Adult Services. The APS is “responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, exploitation, and neglect of vulnerable adults.”
When reporting a claim, you will be asked pertinent information pertaining to the date and type of abuse sustained, the names of any witnesses, and the name of the perpetrator. To the extent possible, all information is confidential. Anonymous complaints may be made, however, the investigation will be more conclusive when contact parties are listed in the complaint.
Once a complaint is filed, and once it is confirmed that the claim meets the requirement of constituting “abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult,” APS will conduct an investigation into the adult’s situation and make recommendations to maximize the adult’s safety and self-determination in the existing circumstances. If the nursing home complaint is substantiated, the perpetrator will be listed in the APS registry.
The APS Registry
APS maintains a comprehensive registry of individuals who have been found guilty of abuse, neglect, or exploitation by a court or administrative law judge. Individuals remain on the registry for 10 years, making it easy for Arizona citizens to search caregiver’s names prior to entering into an agreement with a care facility or elder care provider.
Arizona Department of Health Services
Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
or File a Complaint Online (Available 24/7)
The Arizona Department of Health Services, through the Division of Licensing Services Bureau of Long-Term Care Licensing, handles the licensing of care facilities and medical providers in the state of Arizona. You can quickly and easily file a complaint through their online reporting system against a nursing home, hospice agency, home health agency, assisted living center, adult foster care home, or another medical facility.
The ADHS investigates complaints against licensed and unlicensed facilities “related to the quality of life and quality of care, including residents’ rights, abuse, neglect, dietary problems, staffing, and environmental concerns.” When filing a complaint, you will be asked to provide details pertaining to the date and circumstances of the abuse in question, including the address of the facility.
During the investigation, the surveyor assigned to the complaint may review care facility records, conduct interviews with staff and residents, and observe care.
Reports to the ADHS are confidential. The name of the complainant will not be released to the care facility being investigated. Once the investigation is complete, the complainant and the care facility will individually be notified of the results.
The ADHS Directory
The ADHS also maintains a searchable directory of deficient care facilities. The database is useful for those considering a care facility to assure that the facility does not have complaints against them as well as for complainants checking to see if similar existing complaints have been filed.
It is important to note that complaints to both Adult Protective Services and the Arizona Department of Health Services agencies may be made anonymously, however, investigations will generally be more fruitful in cases where direct contact can be made with the parties involved.
Office of Arizona Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program derived from an intention by the federal and state government to protect vulnerable seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities. The program is designed to help those who cannot help themselves to investigate and resolve resident complaints against caregivers and care facilities. Essentially, an ombudsman is a confidential advocate for the elderly resident.
When contacting the Arizona State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, you will be connected with the ombudsman representative in your local region. If you know or are a long-term care resident in need of advocacy, you may also visit the DES online for a listing of local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs. The DES website also provides legal services assistance and additional elder and adult care resources.
Area Agency on Aging
Maricopa County: (602) 264-2255
The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in Arizona is a local program that advocates for older adults and offers information, options, and community support for seniors. The AAA can be contacted by region. A complete listing of regions and phone numbers can be found at www.az4a.org.
The Area Agency on Aging can help to “advocate, plan, coordinate, develop and deliver services for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families and caregivers.” A representative can help you direct your concerns and complaints.
Arizona Attorney General
(844) 894-4735 (toll free)
(602) 542-7918 (español)
Assisting citizens of Arizona in finding the appropriate resources for social issues and public concerns, the Office of the Attorney General offers specific resources for seniors. The Attorney General maintains an advisory board called the Task Force Against Senior Abuse (TASA) “dedicated to the protection of Arizona’s seniors.”
The website of the Arizona Attorney General offers extensive resources for seniors and allows for the filing of complaints pertaining to consumer fraud, Medicaid fraud, and civil rights violations. The office also focuses on education and outreach, providing effective tools and information for seniors to arm themselves against abuse and popular scams.
Contact a Respected Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Elder neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or financial exploitation can leave the victim and their family members feeling helpless and hurt. You may wish to seek the caring and legal expertise of a qualified Arizona nursing home abuse attorney. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you understand what you may be entitled to, provide additional resources, and secure a nursing home settlement in your case.
The Arizona State Bar Association
The Arizona State Bar Association can provide referrals to a nursing home abuse attorney in your area. Visit www.azbar.org to find a lawyer to help you with your case.
You Are Not Alone
Senior exploitation is a serious problem in our society. If you have been affected by it, you know how devastating nursing home abuse can be. For more information, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the facts of elder and nursing home abuse to recognize the warning signs of abuse and protect yourself and your loved ones. If the abuse has already occurred, we encourage you to seek help from any of the organizations listed here. Abused elders and their loved ones do not have to struggle alone.