How Nursing Homes Try to Cover Up Abuse and Neglect
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on May 30, 2019 in Nursing Home Abuse
It is not an easy decision to place a loved one in a nursing home. When you do, you trust the nursing home staff to care for your loved one. When abuse occurs, you expect the nursing home staff to respond appropriately and protect your loved one. Sadly, this is often not the case. More than 25 percent of serious nursing home abuse cases are not reported to authorities. When your loved one is harmed in this way, it is important that you understand your rights and how you can protect them.
If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact the West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers at Gordon & Partners for help with your case. Our dedicated legal team is committed to helping protect your loved one from enduring any more suffering at the hands of a negligent facility. We can determine the legal options available to you during a risk-free consultation.
Below are several strategies nursing homes use to hide abuse and neglect:
Not Reporting the Abuse or Neglect
Even though nursing homes are legally required to report suspected nursing home abuse or neglect, many do not. Staff members may be afraid of losing their jobs if they report the abuse. Administrators may not want to jeopardize the reputation of the nursing home or they may not want to involve state or local authorities by having them conduct an investigation.
Unfortunately, administrators, staff members and others involved are more concerned with their profitability than with protecting residents and want to avoid facing severe fines or a large judgment after abuse is discovered. Some nursing homes may have unwritten policies that discourage reporting of injuries or a history of terminating or demoting those who do make these reports.
Lying About a Resident’s Injury
Abuse or neglect is sometimes covered up when a staff member intentionally lies about the situation. He or she may say that an injury was due to a fall when it was not or that the resident did not report the injury to staff. Some staff members may lie about their own conduct while others lie about the conduct of others in order to protect colleagues or their own jobs.
In other situations, staff members may try to hide the injury through using makeup, long-sleeve clothing or isolating the resident from others. They may actively try to get rid of evidence that shows abuse occurred, such as washing the body or clothes of a sexual assault victim. Lying about a resident’s injury or actively trying to cover it up is an attempt to conceal the injury and shield the nursing home from being accountable for its actions.
Falsifying Nursing Home Records
Another common way that nursing homes try to cover up abuse or neglect is by instructing staff members to falsify nursing home records. They may be ordered to create new records or backdate other records. In other situations, the nursing home staff may not be trying to conceal anything but may simply be lazy and may input the same information for the same resident without actually monitoring him or her.
Not Documenting Changes in a Resident’s Condition
There are certain symptoms and warning signs that a resident is being abused or neglected. Staff members may intentionally avoid documenting some of these tell-tale signs in the resident’s record:
- Existence of physical injuries, such as fractures, cuts, burns, signs of restraints or bruises
- A history of dehydration, malnutrition or unexplained weight loss
- Infections or a history of bedsores
- Changes in the resident’s mood or personality
- Presence of agitation, fear, anxiety, depression or social withdrawal
- Changes in the resident’s environment
Has Your Loved One Been Injured?
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home, it is important that you independently report it so that the nursing home does not simply try to cover it up. An experienced lawyer from Gordon & Partners can assist you with this process and conduct a thorough investigation into your case.
We will discover the truth and work diligently to hold the negligent nursing home responsible for the abuse and the cover-up. Schedule a free consultation at no risk or obligation to you.