As you may suspect, the reality of nursing home abuse is that abuse and neglect are often underreported in nursing homes. Patients may fear retaliation, people may not know that their loved ones are suffering and even the staff may attempt to cover up wrongdoing.

Nursing facilities reportedly failed to disclose thousands of serious cases of potential abuse and neglect of seniors in their care, even though it’s a requirement for the facilities to report these instances when they involve seniors on Medicare, according to a watchdog report. The Health and Human Services inspector general’s office released a statement based on its auditors’ findings. They claim there were situations so serious that patients had to be rushed from the nursing facility to the emergency room, yet many were not reported as required by law. Approximately 6,200 patients were affected, according to the estimates.

The problem with this is that Medicare has mandatory reporting requirements. Thus far, it appears that around 18% of 37,600 cases in which beneficiaries were rushed to the ER were not reported. Nursing homes that do not report cases can face serious fines and penalties for failing to do so.

It’s a reality that abuse and neglect are difficult to see in some nursing homes. Patients may be reluctant to reach out for help. Abuse may also be masked by certain medical conditions that make it hard for a patient to speak out.

If your loved one is hurt, you deserve answers and an appropriate response from the nursing home. Failing to report injuries or incidents of neglect is unacceptable.