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Some State Laws Block Public Access to Records of Nursing Home Abuse

A recent state law change highlights the need for family members to stay current with their loved ones’ care in nursing homes. Previously, an Iowa state law effectively blocked public access to state nursing home inspector findings and reports of nursing home abuse. This law made it even more difficult for family members to choose the right nursing home and often hid possible incidents of nursing home abuse.

The new law requires immediate disclosure of state inspector findings of nursing home abuse and neglect for public review.

See the full story here.

Unfortunately, the law was not changed soon enough. At one facility, already fined $42,000 for failure to meet minimum standards of care, a nursing home resident died even though state inspectors previously noted that her nursing home care was inadequate. State inspectors had previously found multiple instances of nursing home resident abuse, backdating and falsifying medical records, medication dosing errors, and even an intoxicated nursing home employee. Other common forms of nursing home abuse include bed sores, improper physical restraints and using drugs as restraints, verbal abuse, malnutrition and burns from hot baths.

Now, family members can find out more about the nursing homes where their loved ones reside and can research nursing homes and care facilities to see if there are any records of nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuits or reports.