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Negligent recordkeeping causes injury at nursing homes, part one

New Jersey families who have made the difficult decision to place a parent in a nursing home know of the shift that occurs once your loved one is officially under the care of the nursing home staff. When you are no longer tasked with your loved one's daily care, you may find yourself completely out of the loop, with little to no knowledge about your parent's daily routine, medical care and treatment, and any issues that may come up.

Of course, nursing home staff is supposed to keep families apprised of any new developments or potential problems that may arise in regards to a patient's health. But when there is the potential for nursing home abuse or neglect, the staff may not be so forthcoming. This is what has been alleged in a recent personal injury lawsuit in California.

In that suit, the husband of a woman who died at a nursing home is claiming that the facility's staff altered his wife's medical chart in order to cover up abuse, neglect, and mistreatment.

The 77-year-old woman was checked into the nursing home in 2008 in order to treat a case of pneumonia. She was expected to make a quick recovery and return home to her husband in relatively short order. But on March 7, 2008, just 13 days after entering the home, she died.

In 2009, her husband filed a lawsuit against the facility, seeking damages for elder abuse, wrongful death, and fraud. In the suit, the man and his children allege that the nursing home falsified, altered, and improperly handled the woman's medical charts from the day of her admission to the day of her death.

We will continue our discussion of this topic in a blog post later this week.

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

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