Choosing to place someone you love into a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions you might ever make. However, since most adults must go out and work every day, a nursing facility is often their only choice in getting an elder the care they need.
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is a problem in all states, including New Mexico. You may believe you can spot any signs of abuse or neglect, but what if the facility tries to hide wrongdoing?
First, it is critical to understand that many nursing facilities in our state and elsewhere provide high-quality care for those in need. However, nursing homes are often understaffed, and this can lead to neglect and abuse. To avoid legal and financial trouble, a nursing home in the wrong may try to cover up evidence, often by not reporting abusive incidents.
What does the federal government say?
According to a 2017 alert issued by the Office of the Inspector General, federal agencies have inadequate procedures to ensure the proper reporting of neglect and abuse in nursing homes. The alert covers patients that receive Medicare benefits. However, it is safe to assume that patients with insurance or private pay arrangements are also at risk for the underreporting of harm.
When a nursing facility gets away with underreporting injuries caused by abuse or neglect, they are likely to keep underreporting. Other possible ways of hiding evidence of abuse or neglect may include:
- Lying about how a patient was injured
- Falsifying medical records
- Blaming the patient for their injuries
- Blaming another patient for the injuries
If you suspect your elder has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect that went unreported, we recommend learning more about the law and your legal options.