Two nurses who worked for a New York nursing home have been charged with falsifying documents when faced with a health inspection. Though this particular incident happened in New York, it is similar to those that occur in Illinois and it highlights the priorities that are placed upon some nursing home employees – to cover up for the nursing home even if it means endangering the safety of its residents.
The incident in New York began in March, 2011 when the New York State Health Department made a surprise visit to a nursing home facility. The health department was there to inspect the facility and to make sure that it was running in accordance with the applicable guidelines and codes. However when inspectors arrived, the director of nursing for the home reportedly called a meeting and encouraged another nurse to help her fill in blank forms, indicating that patients had received prescribed medication already when in fact none had been given.
Some time after the inspection, a complaint was filed with the attorney general’s office, alleging the fraudulently filled out forms and the improper handling of patient medication. The attorney general began a review and investigation which culminated in charges leveled against the director of nursing as well as a nurse manager. The two women no longer work for the nursing home and have since claimed that they falsified the documents to protect the home and to prevent it from getting into trouble with the state.
As a result of the falsified documents, officials cannot determine if residents ever received their medication or if it was withheld from them. This has been troubling to the families of the residents, especially those who were on sensitive medication that needed to be administered at precise times and intervals. If these residents did not receive the proper dosage, it is likely that their health suffered to some degree. Those particularly at risk of medication errors include residents on anti-convulsants, or medications that treat and control seizures and other tremors, as well as patients on blood thinners and chemotherapy. In addition, any patient who was taking pain medication likely suffered in pain if they were not provided with the drugs they needed to keep them comfortable.
The nurses and other medical professionals at this nursing home were required to take proper care of the residents. This included attending to their medical needs and providing medication as instructed. However when they were faced with a situation that might cast a negative light on the home, they responded by falsifying documents and covering up their lack of care and treatment towards the patients, putting the needs of the facility and the nursing home owners ahead of the needs of the residents who they were charged with protecting.
This is an incredibly disturbing incident where profit and prestige were deemed more important that medical treatment and compassion, and unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. More and more, pressure is exerted on nursing home employees to cover up any misdeeds performed at the homes instead of acknowledging the problem and addressing it directly. This has occurred in Illinois and likely occurs more often than is realized, putting our elderly, disabled, and injured at risk for neglect and abuse at the hands of licensed care workers.
If your loved one has experienced inadequate care that led to an injury while a resident in a nursing home, there may be a claim for damages and injuries against the nursing home and any responsible individuals. Please contact the Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 and we are standing by to take your call.
Prior Blog Entries:
Homosexual Seniors May be at a High Risk for Abuse in Illinois Nursing Homes, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 4, 2013.
River Forest, Lisle Nursing Home Residents Evacuated From Flooded Facilities, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 1, 2013.
Former director of nursing, nurse manager of Blossom South Nursing Home facing charges, WHEC-TV, published June 3, 2013.