How Nursing Homes Hide Evidence of Abuse
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on March 21, 2022 in Nursing Home Abuse
Families research a lot of nursing homes to find one they feel they can trust to take care of a loved one. Yet far more abuse happens in some highly rated nursing homes than you will ever hear about.
Facilities go to great lengths to protect their ratings because high ratings equals bigger profits. Learn how nursing homes hide evidence of reported abuse to keep their high facility ratings.
At PKSD, we work hard to protect the elderly in nursing homes. Residents have the right to live in safe, clean environments and be treated with care and dignity. When nursing homes fail in their duty to residents, we are prepared to hold them accountable under the law.
If your loved one suffered abuse in his or her nursing home, we urge you to call our trusted law firm. PKSD has a history of proven results, including $2 million recovered for a nursing home understaffing case. Our experienced Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to seek maximum compensation for you and your loved one.
Get started today with a FREE case review. 877-877-2228
How Nursing Homes Hide Evidence of Abuse
Many facilities that have been cited for serious violations still have high ratings today – despite endangering residents. A recent report reveals how far nursing homes may go to conceal evidence of abuse and protect their ratings, including:
Not Reporting Physical or Sexual Abuse When it Happens
Medicare requires nursing homes to immediately report incidents of sexual or physical abuse. Yet a government audit shows that at least one in four cases never gets reported.
Medicare also requires nursing home staff to report suspected criminal incidents:
- Within two hours if it leads to serious bodily harm
- Within 24 hours if no serious injury occurred
However, a government audit also shows that many facilities do not comply with these requirements. Other unreported incidents of accidental injury and intentional abuse also occur. For instance, a caregiver may drop a patient accidentally and fail to report it. In other situations, a caregiver may purposely strike or assault a resident and then cover it up.
Falsifying Patient Charts
Caregivers may either falsify a patient’s chart or fail to document any incident or injury that indicates abuse or neglect. Some staff may even put fake information about a resident’s vital statistics, medication given, urine output, and more in a patient’s chart.
Not Recording Changes to a Patient’s Condition
Updated details about a patient’s condition may never get added to a patient’s chart. Some caregivers may document a resident as in the same condition as staff documented from the previous shift, but without ever checking. Examples of changes that may not get reported include:
- The presence or worsening of bedsores
- Bruising or other evidence of physical abuse
- Signs of a resident’s malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained emotional distress or other mental conditions that may be due to abuse
In addition to falsifying documentation in a patient’s chart, caregivers may bully, intimidate or threaten abused or neglected residents into silence. Residents in this situation may be too afraid even to tell family members.
Nursing Homes Hide Violations Through Secretive Appeals Process
Federal and state inspections are supposed to protect residents by uncovering dangerous incidents. Yet even the inspectors seem to avoid writing up severe issues. Many say they are encouraged to guide facilities to improve rather than enforce the rules.
Even when facilities receive citations, they can seek to overturn them in a secretive appeals process. The citations – and the legal appeal process – remain hidden from the public. If a facility wins its appeal, the public will never know about the citations, even if the violations involve abuse or neglect. Despite having one or more citations, a facility’s CMS Medicare Compare star rating is also not affected. Sometimes, even after a facility loses an appeal, its star rating never gets updated to reflect the violation. It is as though the violations never occurred.
According to an investigative report by the New York Times, thousands of these complaints have been filed – at least 2700. Many of these incidents were not only revealed by inspectors, but also verified by facility supervisors. Yet the citations or complaints were never made public because they were:
- Suppressed during the secretive appeals process
- Omitted from the CMS star ratings due to a “technical glitch”
Our Firm is Ready to Help Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents should never be abused or feel afraid in the very place that is supposed to keep them safe. Long-term care facilities that violate federal regulations and endanger residents must be held accountable.
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, we encourage you to seek legal help immediately. We are ready to listen to your concerns and determine if you may have case. There are always deadlines for filing a lawsuit, and attorneys need time to build a solid case.
Initial consultations are completely free. There is also no charge if you choose to hire our firm to handle your case. We only collect our fees if we win a settlement or jury verdict for you.
Experienced Lawyers. On Your Side. 877-877-2228