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Negligent recordkeeping causes injury at nursing homes, part two

Earlier this week, we began a discussion of insufficient and intentionally falsified medical care records in nursing homes. This all-too-common occurrence has been brought to light with a recent lawsuit in which the husband of a deceased woman alleged that her death was the result of nursing home abuse and neglect. In the suit, he claims that facility employees improperly handled and falsified his wife's medical charts in an effort to cover up their actions.

According to the attorney who is helping the family sue the facility, falsifying patient records is an unfortunately common occurrence in nursing homes. However, it is rarely punished by medical licensing authorities or criminal prosecutors, leaving families with little recourse other than a personal injury lawsuit.

Nursing home industry representatives dispute these claims, stating that falsification is an "exaggerated issue" and that personal injury lawsuits claiming that medical records have been intentionally or negligently falsified are "unwarranted and unfair."

However, in depositions for the aforementioned abuse lawsuit, a certified nursing assistant admitted that she was often too busy to fill in patients' charts. She stated that CNAs routinely engaged in "rote charting," or hurriedly copying the previous day's chart without making note of any issues that have arisen that day. Another CNA stated that she had informed a supervisor of the chart issues, but that no action had been taken. And another testified that someone else's handwriting had later appeared on the charts for the deceased woman during their shifts, signaling that someone may have attempted to cover something up.

Certainly, this is a troubling issue for anyone who has placed a loved one in a nursing home. If you believe that a family member has been injured as a result of New Jersey nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: Sacramento Bee, "Woman's death raises questions about nursing home medical records," Marjie Lundstrom, Sept. 19, 2011

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