A recent report released by the New York Times makes the allegation that some nursing homes go to great lengths to protect their ratings by hiding evidence of abuse. There have been several elderly care facilities in California and around the country that have been cited for serious violations. Many of these same facilities have high client satisfaction ratings despite endangering residents.
Elder care facilities must be held accountable for violating federal regulations and endangering residents. The people they take care of are the most vulnerable in our society and frequently the most forgiving. Medicare developed a system that requires all elderly homes to report incidents of physical and sexual abuse immediately. The requirement flies in the face of reality when you understand that as many as 25% or at least 1 in every 4 cases go unreported as per a government documentation. Medicare rules require the nursing home staff to report suspected criminal incidents:
- Within 24 hours if no serious injury took place
- Within 2 hours if serious bodily harm occurred
Government audits reveal that many facilities fail to comply and some intentionally refuse to comply with these requirements. They fail to report other incidents of intentional abuse and accident injury as well. There are many documented cases where a caregiver drops a patient while bathing them and then and fails to report it. A frustrated or violent caregiver might also intentionally assault or strike a resident and work to cover the assault.
Our office has verified that caregivers have falsified patient charting or failed to document injuries or incidents that indicate neglect and abuse. There are elder care homes where the staff may enter false information next to vital stats, urine output, and medication given. In some cases, critical patient updates never get added to the chart. The caregiver may document the same conditions and stats as the staff in the previous shift. This may be done without even checking on the patient. Here are a few conditions that frequently go unreported or under-reported:
- Bruising or evidence of physical abuse
- Worsening or presence of bedsores
- Signs of resident dehydration or malnutrition
- Unexplained emotional distress and other mental conditions resulting from abuse.
We’ve seen cases in our office where caregivers falsify documentation in the patient’s chart and threaten or intimidate already neglected and abused residents into silence. In case like this, the resident may be fearful to report the abuse to a loved one. Federal and State inspections exist to protect residents and uncover abuse and other such incidents. Sadly, some elder care inspectors avoid writing up severe issues as well. In cases like this the investigator asks a facility director to improve the situation instead of issuing a citation. Facilities that are issued a citation often work to have the matter overturned through an appeals process. This process is hidden and the public will never know about the citation if the facility wins the appeal.
We represent people who are injured because of the careless and reckless acts of others. At the end of the day your case can only be settled one time and you need to know all of the facts beforehand. The reason that insurance companies have paid our clients in excess of $130,000,000.00 is that we get the facts and are not intimidated at the prospect of going to trial when insurance companies fail to offer full compensation. We help with serious injuries that require serious representation. We are the Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth, LLP. Our attorneys have more than 60 years of experience specializing in only representing injured people. Call GB Legal 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit www.gblegal.com We would be honored to represent you!