Imagine this: You find out that your mother has been lying in her own waste for hours at the nursing home, her requests for help ignored. Or, you visit your brother in nursing care and find him covered in bedsores and bruises — and suspect that he’s been beaten. Maybe you’re a nursing home employee and you witness another worker abusing or neglecting a patient.
You call the police. Once they arrive, they dutifully take the reports and — nothing. They simply mark the file as “informational only” and put it away.
That’s exactly what appears to have been happening in Georgia. Even though nursing home abuse and neglect are considered crimes, and there are legal reporting requirements, it seems like the majority of incidents are just noted “for the record” whether the report is coming from a family member, a concerned staff member within the nursing home or the patient.
Investigative reporters compared police records taken about suspected abuse and neglect within one nursing home to the federal complaint investigations. Ideally, all of them should match. In reality, none did. The issue doesn’t seem to be just a local problem, either, despite the fact that Georgia even has a Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly (CAVE) task force.
Earlier reports by the inspector general indicated that nursing homes are already lax about their mandatory reporting requirements — most likely because their Medicare “grade” can go down if there are incidents. Now, it appears that even filing a report may not do much good for the victims.
If your loved one suffered from nursing home neglect or abuse, you may want to seek legal assistance in order to get some measure of justice. You may be entitled to compensation.