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Abuse and Neglect: How Nursing Homes Try to Hide It

By Walton Law APCJune 3, 2020July 23rd, 2023No Comments

Placing a beloved family member in a nursing home or long-term care facility is never easy; it requires a lot of trust to leave their care up to the staff and the facility you’ve chosen. You rightfully expect staff and the nursing home to have the highest standards and provide the best, most compassionate care possible – that includes protecting them from neglect or abuse and addressing any lapses in proper care quickly and thoroughly.

Unfortunately, this often does not happen; in 2017, law enforcement were not alerted in over a quarter of serious nursing home abuse cases despite state and federal laws that mandate police notification. In fact, a pattern of behavior to cover up these abuses has surfaced; this means it’s important to be on the lookout for ways nursing homes could be trying to cover their tracks.

Failure to Comply with Reporting Laws

Despite mandated reporting laws, nursing homes often fail to report actual or suspect abuse or neglect. Profit, public image, and fear of retaliation are some of the reasons administrators and staff intentionally violate state and federal laws. Nursing home abuse leads to stiff fines and potentially large awards of damages, so facilities may implement unwritten rules directing non-reporting or terminate staff who do report.

Cover-Ups and Lies

Staff members are human, so mistakes are always possible. However, in some cases intentional lies are told to protect either themselves, their jobs, or coworkers. Alternatively, rather than lie, staff may intentionally conceal evidence of abuses or neglect. Long-sleeve shirts or pants, covering bruises with makeup, even cleaning the victim or their room to hide or erase signs of abuse have been documented at facilities in the past.

Falsifying Records

Some nursing homes order their staff to falsify a patient’s records. It’s common to see records manipulated by:

  • Backdating,
  • Making new records,
  • Outright lying about whether medication or food given, or if staff checked in regularly on the victim, and
  • Being lazy and re-entering information from a previous report without checking on the resident and doing any work.

Avoidance of Documentation by Staff

Nursing home abuse and neglect both carry warning signs which careful, regular observation should uncover. If your loved one isn’t receiving regular visits from people outside the facility, it’s possible that staff members might purposely refrain from documenting warning signs in the victim’s record. These include:

  • Physical injuries like bruises, cuts, or burns
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Severe bedsores
  • Behavior, mood, and personality changes

Speak to a San Diego Nursing Home Lawyer

It can be difficult to spot nursing home abuse in the best of times; efforts to cover up these behaviors only makes it more important to stay vigilant and observe your loved one. If a loved one was injured or you suspect injury in nursing home, contact the skilled San Diego nursing home attorneys at Walton Law, APC. Our attorneys provided compassionate, personalized representation for our clients for years and recovered millions in damages. Contact us 24/7 by calling (866) 338-7079 or complete our Contact Us page to schedule your free initial case evaluation today. Let us answer your questions, explain the process, and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

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