Tactics Nursing Homes Use to Cover Up Neglect

Jan 31, 2023 - Nursing Home Neglect, Personal Injury by

Our senior citizens deserve to live their golden years in peace while being treated with kindness and respect. In addition to receiving the care they need to have their basic needs met, they should have opportunities to be social and as active as their health will allow. While there are many nursing homes that provide all these things and more, there are other nursing homes that neglect their residents. When this happens, it can be hard for family members and loved ones of the resident to recognize that the neglect is occurring, especially when the nursing home engages in covert tactics to conceal its unethical and illegal behavior. A Tuscaloosa injury attorney from Cross & Smith, LLC, advises on tactics nursing homes use to cover up neglect. 

Chart Manipulation

Residents have medical charts that keep track of their conditions, injuries, and medical status. When an employee of a nursing home seeks to cover up the neglect of a resident, they may manipulate the chart to reflect inaccurate or incomplete information. For example, if a resident has bed sores from lack of movement, their nurse may fail to note the existence of the bedsores on their chart. This type of chart manipulation can also lead to the resident failing to receive the medical care they need, furthering the neglect. Chart manipulation is a common nursing home concealment tactic seen by our Tuscaloosa injury attorney.  

Claiming Ignorance or Lying About Conduct and Injuries

Nursing home employees have been known to feign ignorance about injuries sustained by residents. Rather than admit that the injury is a result of neglect, the employees state that they do not know how the resident was injured, or they may claim that the injury was self-inflicted. Employees may lie to cover for their own job or for the job of a co-worker. 

Some employees go to the extreme in their deceitful behavior, even using makeup to cover up bruises or sores on residents. This type of behavior is destructive to the well-being of residents, and when it occurs, the perpetrators should be held responsible. 

Patient Intimidation

Patient intimidation is one tactic nursing home employees use to prevent their neglect from being reported. Intimidation tactics cover a wide range of behaviors. This may include threatening future abuse or punishing the resident when they speak out. Punishments may include the denial of food or privileges, such as the ability to socialize. Our Tuscaloosa injury attorney at Cross & Smith, LLC, has helped many residents recover compensation when they have suffered neglect at the hands of those responsible for their care.  

Worker Incentives

Some nursing homes offer incentives to employees for good behavior or going a specific time period with no complaints or write-ups. These incentives can range from financial bonuses to paid time off or something as simple as continued employment. When such incentives are offered, employees are encouraged to conceal the neglect suffered by residents in order to earn the incentives. 

Even when nursing homes do not intend to encourage the concealment of resident neglect by offering incentives to workers, such secrecy is all too often the result. 

Failure to Document Resident’s Condition

Workers at nursing homes may cover up resident neglect by failing to document or report any negative conditions to their families or doctors. They may also fail to document any negative conditions in the resident’s medical records. According to our Tuscaloosa injury attorney, negative conditions that may not be reported include:

  • Weight loss or dehydration
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Bruises and sore 

Any changes in a resident’s mental or physical state should be reported and documented. Too many times, a patient’s records reflect no change in their physical or mental well-being when such a change has occurred. 

Concealment of Medical Requests

It is possible that a medical provider notices something is off with a resident, such as unexplained weight loss or a reluctance to speak plainly, and orders additional testing to investigate. Staff may desire to conceal the cause of concern and as a result, hide the requests for testing or if the testing has already occurred, the results of the tests. 

This tactic is a good example of how the concealment of neglect can occur on so many different levels. It can be anyone from the nursing home director all the way down to the janitorial staff. Determining the parties involved often takes an investigation. A Tuscaloosa injury attorney knows how to proceed to ascertain the parties responsible. 

Failure to Investigate Resident Injuries and Complaints

When a resident, their family, or any other person reports neglect, their complaint should be thoroughly investigated. Failing to look into these reports to determine whether or not they have merit is one way nursing homes conceal neglect. All reports should be looked into and when wrongdoing is found, it must be stopped and precautions taken to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

Every nursing home should have a system in place where residents can complain and have their grievances addressed without fear of retaliatory conduct. Many residents that suffer from neglect fail to say anything because they fear the repercussions of speaking out.

Changing Injury-Causing Conditions

When left to their own devices, residents can easily slip, trip, or fall. When this happens, nursing home staff may change the conditions that caused the injury to prevent liability. For example, if a resident trips over a cord that was left exposed in a hallway, nursing home employees may move the cord so the trip cannot be blamed on their neglect. 

Contact a Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney at Cross & Smith, LLC 

If you or a loved one has been neglected by a nursing home, there are steps you can take to recover the compensation you are owed. Reach out to a Tuscaloosa injury attorney at Cross & Smith, LLC, to learn the options available to you.

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Posted By: Chuck Kelley

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