Obviously all nursing home residents deserve to receive quality care every day that keeps them safe from harm. However, there are times when caregivers will, unintentionally, make mistakes. Like any other human, a worker may accidentally fail to check on a resident, forget a medication, or make a similar blunder. When that happens, if harm results, it is only reasonable for those responsible to pay for the consequences of the error. That is not necessarily a permanent condemnation of the individual who made the mistake–it happens. But none of that changes that the fact that all of us–from doctors and nursing home workers to care drivers and lawyers–are responsible for the results of our actions, regardless of our intentions.
In an ideal world those responsible for accidents in nursing homes would immediately admit the error, explain the situation, and do whatever possible to make it right. Sadly, that sort of openness and honesty is rare. Instead, many caregivers (and owners and operators) engage in the exact opposite conduct; doing everything in their power to avoid any and all accountability.
Far too many in this situation refuse to share information, make up excuses, point blame elsewhere, and otherwise fail to be forthright. This usually acts as a second blow to nursing home residents and their family members who are simply trying to understand what happened.
A recent story reported in the Daily Voice describes one such situation. It is a testament to the lengths that some nursing home operatives will go to cover up their errors and seek to protect themselves at all costs.
According to reported a 73-year old nursing home patient went missing from the facility about two and a half weeks ago. Yet, when he was first identified as missing the head of the facility failed to call authorities. Obviously calling in professionals is necessary when a senior leaves the facility and is alone outside without protection.
The nursing home head did even more. In addition to failing to call authorities, she instructed her staff members to make up a story about the situation. A colleague of her’s was asked to tell police that the senior’s left on his own–even though others warned him to stay. All of this was on top of the woman’s removing medical records from that senior’s file.
These intentional misdeeds made in an attempt to cover-up the situation all came to light during an investigation of the senior’s disappearance. Eventually the attorney general actually filed a criminal complaint against the employee. She now risks up to four years in prison if convicted of first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and two misdemeanor counts of willful violation of health laws.
While actual criminal charges following the obstruction like this is rare, the idea of covering up a problem instead of admitting error is not. Because these facilities are usually not forthright about the causes of accidents, most families in these situations need to contact experienced nursing home neglect attorneys for advocacy. It is often the only way to truly get to the bottom of a situation.
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