Common Problems in Iowa Nursing Homes

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

Problem No. 1: Poor Recordkeeping

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are governed by regulations designed to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.

Following these regulations requires careful attention to detail. This attention to detail is important because a typical nursing home is filled with residents who require special care and individual attention. This care and attention can only be provided by a trained staff that communicates well with each other through its records on each resident.

Find Out How Well Nursing Homes Keep Medical Charts

One telltale sign of a nursing home’s attention to detail is how its staff keeps its records. Many nursing homes are notoriously bad recordkeepers. Bad recordkeeping can involve the failure to keep adequate records, the failure to keep timely records or even a tendency to falsify records in order to give the appearance of compliance with safety regulations.

Sloppy Recordkeeping Leads to Falsified Records

In one case our firm worked on, nursing home employees documented taking a resident to the bathroom every two hours (just like they were supposed to) even during days when the resident was away at the hospital.  They even recorded this for the day after she passed away!  In addition to records kept regarding the medical care of residents, nursing homes are also required to record all incidents of injury.  They are also required to report those incidents to the Department of Inspection and Appeals, the state agency responsible for evaluating and inspecting nursing homes in Iowa.

Incident Reports Should be Collected by Family Early On

If a person is injured during a stay at a nursing home, the resident him or herself or a family member with an appropriate Power of Attorney should promptly request a copy of the incident report. The resident or family member is also entitled to access to the resident’s medical records within 24 hours of request. Copies of these records must be made at a reasonable cost and within two days of request. If a nursing home has difficulty complying with these record requests, it can often be a sign of a bigger problem for the nursing home’s residents.

To find out the rest of the 8 common problems in Iowa nursing homes, use the form to the right to download the entire Law Guide to Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Claims.

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