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Care home reports soon to be online

By Ginnie Graham - Tulsa World Staff Writer Published: February 21, 2010

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series of stories investigating conditions in Oklahoma’s group homes for the mentally retarded, mentally ill and elderly. The investigation was conducted by reporters from the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman.

For the past three years, state Health Department officials have been scanning inspection and investigation reports of group homes it oversees into a computer system for easier public access.

The project should be complete by the end of the summer, said Dorya Huser, the state Health Department's chief of long-term care services.

“Someone should be able to go in there and get a pretty good picture of what's going on in the facility,” Huser said. “I think it will be able to help, but we also want to educate the public.”

The documents will be available on the agency's Web site, with a click of a computer mouse on the facility name to view the documents, Huser said.

The agency oversees different types of group-home and institutional facilities, including residential care, assisted living, nursing facilities and the federally supported homes for the developmentally disabled.

In addition to the records review, Huser suggests those searching for a group home placement make unannounced visits to a home at different times of the day.

Ask specific questions about whether a home's staff can meet a potential resident's needs, ranging from the ability to watch a favorite television program to the types of daily activities offered, Huser said.