Many people count on nursing homes to provide care for family members. Unfortunately, some senior care facilities end up neglecting or abusing the residents in their charge. How do nursing homes try to cover up abuse and neglect to avoid the consequences of their actions?
These homes may try to keep you from seeing your family members or even make up excuses for injuries or signs of neglect. Our team at Brown & Barron can help you review possible signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. You can learn more by reaching out to us for assistance. Below, we cover how some senior care facilities hide signs of nursing home abuse.
They Lie About Residents’ Injuries
Lying represents one common strategy used to cover up abuse and neglect in nursing homes. The nursing home staff may claim that patients sustained an injury in a harmless way.
For example, a nurse working for a nursing home may strike or push a patient, bruising them. The nurse could then claim the patient got the bruises by tripping and falling. Many nursing home patients cannot remember or clearly communicate due to age or injuries, making it easier for staff members to lie about the causes of their injuries.
They Falsify Their Records
Nursing home staff have a duty to track all changes to a patient’s vital statistics and condition. However, sometimes staff members falsify these records, entering information they know to be false to avoid signs of misconduct.
They may also repeatedly enter the same information from one day to the next instead of accurately checking a patient’s condition. Some nurses do this to save time, leading to nursing home neglect.
They Fail to Document Changes to Residents’ Conditions
In line with our last point, sometimes nursing home staff members ignore warning signs and symptoms of a serious condition for residents. They may intentionally fail to document this information in an attempt to cover up neglect or abuse.
For example, they may fail to record information about:
- Infections and bedsores
- Weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration
- Cuts, fractures, burns, and other physical injuries
- Environmental changes
In some cases, nursing home workers fail to record details about a patient’s changing personality or mood. All these symptoms may indicate abuse or neglect.
They Do Not Report Neglect or Abuse
In some cases, one employee at a nursing home neglects or abuses residents. If other members of the staff find out about these actions, they have a legal responsibility to report the individual. However, in some cases, they choose not to report for fear of losing their job or facing sanctions.
Staff members may keep quiet to protect the nursing home’s reputation or because they do not want to rock the boat. Administrators can try to hide abuse and neglect to protect the reputation of their care facility or to avoid financial consequences of their negligence.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General found that around 25% of serious cases of nursing home abuse and neglect were never reported to the police, showing the severity of this issue.
They Threaten Their Patients
In some cases, nursing homes try to cover up abuse and neglect by threatening the mistreated patients. Many individuals who end up in nursing homes have medical conditions that diminish their physical or mental condition.
Nursing home workers may threaten these vulnerable members of society with physical, emotional, mental, or even financial harm if they do not maintain a level of silence about the abuse that goes on in the nursing home.
In some cases, nursing home workers tell residents that no one would believe them or that the abuse never happened.
How You Can Identify Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes often try to hide acts of abuse and neglect to save money and protect their reputation. In these situations, they ignore or endanger the well-being of your loved ones. You can act as an advocate for your family members by looking for signs of neglect and abuse.
According to the National Institute on Aging, you may want to look for:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or other wounds
- Changes in physical cleanliness (personal hygiene)
- Evidence of malnutrition or dehydration
- The presence of bedsores
- Changes to spending patterns (financial abuse)
- Confusion or sudden depression
Abuse does not always stop at physical mistreatment. Nursing home staff may also berate or terrorize patients or overuse sedatives in an attempt to control them. Fortunately, you can get help if you suspect abuse or neglect.
How to Get Help With a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case
How do nursing homes try to cover up abuse and neglect? They may lie, change medical records, or even threaten patients. If you suspect abuse, it can be very difficult to get to the truth. Fortunately, you can secure legal help protecting your loved one by reaching out to our team at Brown & Barron.
Call us or complete our online contact form to get started today.