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Why aren't police being told about nursing home negligence?

Those doing their best to care for aging loved ones in Wyoming nursing home facilities may be shocked to learn of a reported ongoing problem patient advocates have brought to public attention. Most people know that nursing home negligence exists; however, new information suggests a surprising number of abuse incidents are never reported to police. Given the high number of injuries that send victims to emergency rooms each year, the lack of awareness police often have regarding such incidents makes one wonder why many people are not coming forward to report abuse.

Some estimates state that as many as one fourth of serious abuse situations remain unreported to police. Government investigators reviewing various nursing facilities have alerted the public and are calling for rectification of what they say is a problematic situation. A regional inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services recounted one incidence of abuse where an elderly woman was sexually assaulted and severely bruised, which necessitated urgent care at a nearby emergency room; yet, the entire situation was never reported to police as is required by federal law.

The inspector general also noted that the abuse victim in this particular case had been cleaned before taking her to the hospital, which amounted to removal of possible evidence that a crime had taken place. Police were only later informed by family members when nursing home staff told them about the assault. Staff members are accused of contacting local police to try to keep them from showing up at the facility.

Nursing home negligence should never be hidden from appropriate authorities. Anyone in Wyoming who has suffered injury due to staff negligence may seek justice in court. Although a civil lawsuit is not in any way connected to any criminal charges that may be filed, informing the court that charges have been filed may help substantiate a civil claim.

Source: wyomingpublicmedia.org, "Serious Nursing Home Abuse Often Not Reported To Police, Federal Investigators Find", Ina Jaffe, Aug. 28, 2017

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