There is no question that abuse and negligence are common in nursing homes. While some nursing homes genuinely care about seniors, there are just as many that are in the business solely to make money. In order to minimize administrative and operative costs, nursing homes tend to employ fewer people, and ones who are not very well-trained and/or highly qualified. Many times, staff members do not even undergo background checks. Understaffing is a chronic problem in healthcare, and it is really bad in nursing homes since the really mismanaged ones do not offer good pay. To make matters worse, many nursing facilities are old and poorly maintained. All these factors put the health of seniors at risk.
Over the years, many nursing homes have been sued for negligence and abuse. But as this issue has become more and more prominent, nursing homes have become equally sharp in hiding the things that really happen. They take meticulous steps to cover up abuse to prevent litigation.
Here are some tricks that are commonly used to cover up nursing home abuse
Blaming the patient
This is the most common trick used by nursing home staff and management. For example, if a patient was physically abused by a staff member, and if their family members question the signs of physical harm, the staff may claim that the patient fell while walking to the bathroom or when trying to get out of bed. Or, if the evidence of abuse is too obvious, they may claim that the patient was abused by another resident. In some cases, the nursing home may claim that the injury is old and was present when the patient was admitted.
Incentives to workers
All workers in nursing homes are, by law, required to report abuse and negligence. But nursing homes get around this by providing the workers with incentives so that they do not report any events or issues that could potentially get the nursing home in trouble. Incentives could be in the form of job stability, financial rewards, and overtime, etc.
Falsifying the chart
One of the most common methods nursing homes cover up abuse and neglect is by falsifying data in the medical chart. The person looking after the patient will never mention any injuries or problems in the chart and will indicate that everything is fine and normal. In some cases, even if a nurse has stated any injury, the nursing home administrator may delete the page or substitute another page which reveals the exact opposite. For example, the patient may be crying, not eating or complain of pain, but all these facts may be omitted from the report. This makes it difficult for investigators to know what exactly happened.
Hiding medical requests
In some cases, the doctor may order an investigation as to why the patient is dehydrated or depressed, but the nursing home may hide this order and then claim that it was never given, or misplaced or any other similar story. For example, if the patient fell, and the doctor ordered x-rays, the nursing staff may not follow up on the results. And if the results reveal a fracture, the nursing home will blame the radiologist for not forwarding the report.
Most residents in nursing homes are frail, gullible, and have diminished cognitive status. Nursing homes often take advantage of this by threatening them with punishment if they ever speak about any abuse or negligence. Patients often are left at the mercy of nursing homes and dare not speak up because of fear that something bad will happen to them.
If you have a member of your family in a nursing home, the best advice is to be proactive and watch for signs of abuse. Never take the word of members of a nursing home if you see any injury on your loved ones. If you have even a little suspicion, talk to a nursing home lawyer who can further investigate and find out what is really happening. You need this information so that you know what you should do to ensure that your family member is safe and protected. Call our nursing home abuse lawyer today at Burnetti, P.A, and they help you protect the people you love and help you punish the people who are responsible for such abuse and neglect. Abuse, be it emotional, physical, or sexual, can be very traumatic, and nobody deserves to be treated that way. When you put someone you love in a nursing home, you are trusting the management and the staff to take care of them. If they don’t, they must be held accountable.