Obtaining a Copy of the Nursing Home Incident Report
Nursing homes are legally required to create an incident report following any serious injury or allegation of abuse. State regulations and federal guidelines via CMS, mandate that after a serious event occurs, the facility must conduct an internal investigation. Following the internal investigation, an incident report is created.
Most state laws allow for the victim, or the victim’s family, to view a copy of the nursing home incident report.
Common Injuries That Trigger an Incident Report in a Nursing Home
Regardless of the alleged explanation, these injuries usually result in an incident report being created:
* Falls resulting in broken bones
* Falls resulting in brain bleed
* Unexplained broken bones
* Stage 4 bedsores
* Broken hips
* Unexplained bruising
* Elopement from the building
Common Abuse Allegations that Trigger Mandatory Incident Reporting
Similarly, nursing homes are legally required to investigate these allegations of abuse:
* Sexual abuse
* Physical abuse
* Emotional torment
These incidents require facility investigation, regardless of whether the abuser is a fellow resident, or a staff member.
What Information is Contained in a Nursing Home Incident Report?
Nursing homes are supposed to get the entire story of all participants involved in an adverse incident involving a patient. This means the incident report should have the statements of all staff and witnesses to the event.
For example, let’s say a bedbound resident is rushed to the emergency room with a broken hip and left flank bruising. The hospital radiologist concludes that the fracture occurred from trauma, like a fall, but this victim cannot even walk. Clearly, something happened at the nursing home. This should trigger a nursing home investigation and corresponding incident report.
In this hypothetical nursing home incident report, the report should contain the statement of the aide that transfers the resident, the supervising LPN that saw the aide rush out of the room suspiciously, the Med Tech that heard a loud thump when she walked past the room, the Director of Nursing that received an anonymous tip on what really happened, and anyone else who heard something about the incident. The investigation would include damning admissions from facility staff on what they believe happened, and highlight any inconsistencies in the staff’s story.
Ultimately, the nursing home incident report would likely conclude that the resident was being transferred and was dropped by the aide. Further, the incident report should conclude that the resident’s injury was intentionally concealed, and the guilty staff member should be fired immediately.
Transparency in Nursing Home Reporting Data
There is a general trend towards disclosure of nursing home reporting information. In the 90’s, the federal government mandated publishing nursing home citations and deficiencies. We now have more than two decades of data on nursing home care failures (In 1998, the first version of the Nursing Home Compare website was launched with information limited to nursing home regulatory deficiencies). This allowed access to anonymized deficiencies, where the injured resident was called ‘Resident 3’, and not by name. So if the incident made it into a survey, you may be able to find out the nursing home’s take on what happened through a publicly available nursing home survey citation.
However, this is far from a sure thing. Additionally, there is lag time in CMS survey reporting, and survey citations do not capture the majority of adverse events that occur inside a skilled nursing facility. Inspectors only catch what they happen to stumble upon when visiting the facility on an unannounced spot check.
The best account of what happened will be a nursing home incident report. If the injury or incident was serious enough, the nursing home is legally been required to create an internal adverse incident report. You, as the patient’s legal guardian, should be entitled to view that report. Unfortunately, without legal counsel, most families have a hard time getting a nursing home’s incident report.
Why Can’t I Get the Nursing Home Incident Report?
Simply put, the nursing home does not want you to see the incident report!
Take a look at what the above hypothetical adverse event report would contain. This would likely result in punitive damages against the offending nursing home. This is why nursing homes will do everything they can to withhold producing the incident report to family members.
Nursing home management will do everything they can to keep you from seeing the incident report because, oftentimes, it will lead you to sue the facility for negligence.
How Can I Get a Nursing Home Incident Report?
Nursing home incident reports are usually created pursuant to a skilled nursing regulation. In the majority of states, the law requires production of nursing home incident reports in litigation, even if the nursing home incident report itself is not admissible as evidence.
Unfortunately, angry letters and demands for fairness will get you nowhere. In order to obtain a nursing home incident report, you will need an experienced and skilled nursing home abuse attorney in your corner.
At Senior Justice Law Firm, our entire firm focus is on nursing home negligence. This is all we do. We regularly obtain nursing home incident reports in litigation through discovery. When a nursing home objects to producing an incident report, we go to court and get a judge to sign an order compelling production of the investigation.
Is it Expensive to Retain a Lawyer to Get a Nursing Home Incident Report?
No. Our nursing home abuse attorneys work entirely on contingency fee. This means you never have to pay us a dime out of pocket. We only get paid if we win your case and recover money for you.
Free Nursing Home Incident Report Legal Consultation
You would not try to diagnose an illness without a doctor. When your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic. Do not try to traverse complicated legal avenues without the help of an experienced attorney.
Our firm focus is on nursing home negligence claims. We have obtained hundreds of nursing home incident reports for families, even after they were told it was “only for internal use inside the nursing home.” We can help you and your family.
If your loved one suffered a serious injury or death inside a nursing home, contact Senior Justice Law Firm today. We can get you the answers and compensation you deserve following a terrible tragedy inside a facility. Submit your case facts below, or give us a call today to learn more about your legal rights after a nursing home injury or wrongful death.
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