While you try to choose a good nursing home for your loved one, you can’t watch over them 24/7. Sometimes, the people who should help your loved one become lazy or abusive in their jobs. This is a terrible thought, and there are many ways that you can reduce the risk of neglect and abuse for your loved one; however, you can’t see everything that goes on in the nursing home. In some cases, you won’t be able to see or report abuse. This is where whistleblowing could play a part in your loved one’s care. Whistleblowing occurs when someone within an organization exposes illegal activity going on within that organization. Here, I will discuss whistleblowing and nursing home neglect and abuse.
What is a Whistleblower?
As mentioned above, a whistleblower is an employee of a private or public corporation that recognizes that something is going wrong within the organization. Maybe a violation of the company’s policies is taking place. Maybe there is a threat to public safety. Or maybe there is some kind of fraud or corruption occurring within the company. If an employee recognizes one of these issues or some other issue, they may choose to bring this information to the attention to management within the company, or to external sources.
Whistleblowing is difficult because it oftentimes means that the whistleblower will be ostracized by the company. The whistleblower faces losing their job as well as legal action and negative social stigma. Regardless, some people choose to expose the wrongdoings of their company on a moral basis.
Whistleblowing and Nursing Homes
In some cases, employees of nursing homes have exposed neglect, abuse, or corruption within the nursing home in an attempt to help nursing home residents. Fraud is one type of issue in nursing homes that can lead to whistleblowing. Issues such as medical fraud, unnecessary billing for tests and procedures, costly medication prescriptions, and kickbacks are examples of fraud in nursing homes. Neglect and abuse issues may also get brought to light through whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing is not something that you can do as a family member of a nursing home resident. By nature, whistleblowing must be done by someone who works for the organization in question. However, you and your family can benefit from a staff member such as a nurse, and aide, or a doctor exposing issues within the nursing home. If you do notice instances of fraud, neglect, or abuse, you should begin to gather evidence to prove it. You might also consider asking nursing home employees if they have noticed anything out of the ordinary. If you have been in contact with an employee that is interested in whistleblowing, you should contact an attorney.