We frequently receive calls from people throughout South Carolina who are concerned over how their family members are being treated either at a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Some people want complete medical charts, others are just seeking incident reports. Either way, they are often met with significant resistance from the center.
Steps You Can Take
The first thing to remember is that your loved one, if at all possible, may request the records himself. The nursing home has a legal duty to provide records to patients.
Second, if a family member signed the patient into the facility with power of attorney, that same family member should have a contractual right to obtain a copy of all records.
Third, any person with health care or durable power of attorney, even if initiated after your loved one became a resident at the facility, ought to be able to get the complete patient chart.
Fourth, if these measures fail, or if you simply want help, an attorney can send a request for a certified copy of all nursing home records.
The Records & The Truth Are Not Always The Same
It's important to note that no matter what the records say, mistreatment may still be taking place. Senior care facilities frequently alter and falsify documents in an attempt to escape civil liability. For example, a nursing home might change a record to state a patient was frequently repositioned and given daily wound treatment before developing a Stage 4 pressure ulcer. However, we may discover that no such treatment was ever provided, and further that the record was not created until after a claim was filed. Similar to stories on the news, the cover up is often just as bad, if not worse than the act itself.
As a South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, I can obtain certified copies of all records, issue subpoenas, take depositions, and work to uncover not only what the records say, but also what really happened. Though I wish all of our seniors received proper care, the unfortunate reality is that at times they are mistreated. If you have any additional questions about how to obtain records, or have any concerns over the facility's actions, call me today at (803) 790-2800.