Today, I was reviewing a survey by the Virginia Department of Health of a local nursing home.
What’s a survey? It’s basically a long report where the investigator, a surveyor, comes into the nursing home to see whether the facility and its staff are actually following the law and properly treating residents.
These investigations typically happen once per year, sometimes more, depending on the seriousness of the allegations and whether any consumer complaints have been made during the past 12 months.
And yes, you can contact the state to file a complaint if you suspect a nursing home has mistreated a loved one. The surveyor will follow-up on your complaint for you (and we often can help you file a complaint).
Anyways, the survey of this particular Virginia nursing home found some very upsetting things were going on:
- Nurses were documenting in the patients chart that they had performed certain care, when they hadn’t;
- Nurses were cleaning pressure ulcers (think bed sore) then putting the old dirty bandage back on OR documenting they cleaned the wound and didn’t;
- Nurses were failing to notify the doctors when they were out of medications;
- Nurses were failing to notify the doctor when patients had lost significant weight;
- Nurses were failing to notify doctors when patients got sick.
Now, I don’t think for one minute that staff intended to harm their patients. But why does elder abuse and neglect occur in Virginia nursing homes?