Nursing home residents may be subject to mental, physical or sexual abuse by staff members who are supposed to take care of them. In addition, healthcare fraud is a sign of abuse that many don't think about. This may occur when a facility charges the government for services that weren't rendered or for services that it doesn't cover. Private insurance companies may also be billed incorrectly for services a resident may receive.
In some cases, procedures may be performed even when they aren't medically necessary. This can have a negative consequence for the health and safety of a patient. Residents may also be pressured to sell personal information or have their information stolen. Inaccurate medical records may be used to justify charging an insurance company for medication or for a procedure. However, having the wrong information about a patient may increase the chances of a misdiagnosis or other future medical errors.
Abuse is more likely to occur when a facility doesn't have enough staff to properly oversee patient care. Families are encouraged to take appropriate steps to keep tabs on their loved ones. This is especially important when a resident has limited cognitive function. Nursing facility staff are encouraged to speak up if they see a patient being abused or suspect that abuse is taking place.
If nursing home negligence results in a resident's injury or death, the facility where the incident occurred may be liable for damages. The resident's family may be entitled to compensation for medical bills as well as a reduced quality of life. An attorney may obtain evidence of abuse such as inconsistent medical billing practices or changes in a resident's mental or physical condition. Expert witnesses may be asked to verify that negligence caused harm to a resident.