Abuses and Excuses


Stories that must be told. Tactics that get results.

Abuses and Excuses breaks new ground in educating nursing home patients and their families about the nursing home industry, offering a wealth of insider insights and strategies that show, step by step, how to hold nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect.

It’s an eye-opening account of corporate greed, an industry culture of coverup, and the heartbreaking harms that are perpetrated upon vulnerable nursing home patients with shocking frequency.

The tools and strategies that attorney Jeff Powless reveals in Abuses and Excuses are not just theories or gimmicks. They’re actionable steps that anyone can begin taking immediately to find answers and accountability and help any patient who has suffered —or is at risk of suffering —mistreatment in any U.S. nursing home facility.


Abuses and Excuses is both a journey of empowerment and a path to accountability.

What you’ll learn:

  • Researching nursing homes. Researching nursing homes before a patient’s admittance…
  • sources for research (both online and offline)
  • understanding “star-ratings,”quality measures and identifying indicators that may be red flags
  • how to understand and evaluate inspection reports
  • how to investigate beyond published compliance data (much of which is self-reported by nursing homes)
  • questions to ask staff when touring potential facilities
  • Improving care. What you can do to improve the quality of care a patient receives, even if you don’t suspect neglect or abuse;
  • First steps. Steps to take immediately if you suspect neglect and abuse
  • Warning signs. Warning signs of neglect and abuse for a wide variety of common harms
  • The harms. Comprehensive exploration of each of these harms: pressure sores (pressure ulcers); falls and accidents; medication “errors”and medication “diversion”(theft); physical, psychological and sexual abuse; dehydration and malnutrition; restraint injuries; elopement (wandering away from the nursing home); social media abuse
  • discussion of the clinical elements of each harm and resulting conditions, including case studies and analysis
  • how each of these harms happen, who’s at risk/evaluating risk factors
  • how to assess evidence of specific harms; signs and symptoms
  • investigatory tools —gathering evidence, building your case
  • debunking myths (e.g., patients are old —their bones “spontaneously”break) and nursing home excuses
  • battling nursing home staff coverups and falsified records
  • specific tips, guidelines and policies for preventing each harm before it happens
  • federal laws requiring nursing homes to protect patients from these harms
  • Filing complaints.
  • Should you file a complaint? Comprehensive guidelines for assessing whether your problem indicates substandard care and/or violates federally mandated requirements
  • Properly documenting meetings with family and patient councils, nursing home administrators and others
  • Making your case —gathering critical evidence, the details your complaint must include
  • Where to file complaints and forms for doing so
  • Complaint investigations. Ensure that your complaints are taken seriously, properly investigated, and get results…
  • Getting your complaint investigated by Ombudsmen and other patient advocates and what to expect
  • Getting your complaint investigated by your state’s investigative agency and what to expect
    • Medical records. Step-by-step guide to requesting complete, accurate patient medical records under federal law
    • obtain records expeditiously as the law allows, and at low-cost or no cost
    • conquer nursing home obstacles and avoidance tactics
    • guide to patient rights and the nursing home’s legal obligations
    • battling record falsification
  • Your legal rights. A comprehensive look at the legal rights patients and families have in neglect/abuse cases
  • Culture of coverup. Strategies and tools for battling the insidious nursing home culture of coverup every step of the way; including case studies and testimony that reveal common nursing home tactics to be on the lookout for
  • Bogus excuses & tactics. Common bogus excuses and tactics nursing homes use to deflect blame and hide the money…how to anticipate them and beat them at their own game
  • Civil lawsuit.
  • Guidelines to help you determine whether you can or should pursue a civil lawsuit against a nursing home
  • How to help build a viable case; strategies for establishing legal grounds for a case, gathering evidence and documenting neglect or abuse, working with your attorney
  • How to choose the right lawyer —questions to ask and specialized experience to look for
  • Legal considerations to be aware of —statutes of limitation, exceptions, filing deadlines and procedural requirements
  • Case studies and analysis that help you understand how government investigations and lawsuits work
  • Criminal complaints. When you should notify law enforcement about suspected or known abuse or neglect, obstacles you may encounter, and what you can do to help prosecute the perpetrators
  • Fighting bad laws. What you can do to fight laws that protect bad nursing homes
  • Mandatory arbitration. How to fight those forced arbitration clauses that nursing homes try to make patients and families agree to…the truth about arbitration forums, why arbitration is rigged against you, and possible strategies for defeating the agreement or avoiding agreement altogether

Damage caps. “Limited liability”and the so-called “damage cap”laws (which should be called “accountability caps”!) in some states limit the amount of compensation victims and their families can recover, no matter how egregious the neglect or abuse or how profitable the nursing home is…how to evaluate your legal strength for recovering compensation for neglect or abuse and what you can do to fight the enactment of damage caps in your state


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