Nursing home abuse and neglect are against the law in Maryland. Nursing homes must follow a complex set of rules to ensure the well-being of their residents. Families trust nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to care for their loved ones properly. When that trust is misplaced, and your elderly family member suffers, it is time to consult with the nursing home neglect attorney in Baltimore as soon as you suspect the abuse is occurring – it needs to be stopped immediately and the resident placed in a secure and safe environment.
Nursing home negligence and abuse cases have a unique character as it involves an emotional upset the families experience, the significant impact the abuse has on residents, and the difficulty in proving what happened. Negligence cases require time for careful preparation, as nursing home lawyers have numerous defenses to deny and delay responsibility. So, the longer they succeed in delaying the case, the more challenging it becomes for the family to see it through. Having an experienced lawyer for nursing home negligence in Maryland by your side will ensure your loved one receives the justice they deserve.
Don’t Let Your Loved One Become a Statistic
million seniors are abused each year in the U.S.
of all nursing homes in Maryland are rated ‘Below average’
of all elder abuse is emotional or verbal abuse
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
The signs of nursing home abuse are not always easy to differentiate from normal aging signs because sometimes even victims choose to remain silent due to the fear of retaliation from the abuser. Sometimes the reason is that they lack the cognitive abilities to remember what happened or to identify their abuser (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, etc.).
So, the family of the resident must pay close attention to the signs of the abuse and stay in close contact with him or her. It may help if you pay an unexpected visit or not visiting the resident during the typical peak visiting times. Speaking with other residents’ families may also give you a better understanding of the situation. Some of the most commons signs of abuse may include the following:
- Bruises, cuts, and other unusual injuries
- Bed sores
- Signs of dehydration and malnutrition
- Unusual changes in personality followed by mood swings (depression, anxiety, agitation)
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Low self-esteem
- Avoiding eye contact
- Fear of speaking openly
- Signs of poor hygiene, like failing to bathe or wearing dirty clothes
- Unsanitary environment
- Unexplained property or money loss
- Unanswered questions by the staff or answers like ‘This is how we do things here’ should be a red flag
- Busy staff that is stretched too thin
- Medical conditions worsening without any reasonable explanation
Types of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
Elder abuse and neglect can have several forms. Some types can result from malicious intentions, others can result from not having enough staff. Not having enough employees can mean that they are overworked and cannot attend to every resident’s needs equally. Types of senior abuse include:
Intentional physical attacks by the medical staff or other residents that are meant to hurt are considered physical abuse. Sadly, they are more frequent than ever before and are usually used to control or punish the residents. It involves pushing, slapping, pinching, restraining, kicking, or hitting – any action that can harm a resident. The signs of physical abuse can be broken bones, bruises, burns, or cuts.
Yelling, swearing, demeaning, controlling, intimidating, threatening, ignoring, or insulting the patient can cause a hostile environment and result in anxiety, depression, insecurity, or irritability of your loved one. Isolating the resident from social activities and interactions is also considered psychological abuse.
Nursing home staff that fails to administer the right medical treatment, does not address the medical conditions, or fails to inform the doctor of the resident’s condition are forms of medical abuse. Medical mistreatment can even lead to death, so you may be eligible to bring a wrongful death case against the people responsible for your loss.
Failing to provide a proper diet and enough water can endanger the health of the resident. Signs of dehydration and malnutrition can be exhaustion, confusion, sudden weight loss, or illness.
If your loved one shows a sudden change in a financial situation, it is a sign to check whether he or she has experienced financial abuse. The resident’s caregiver may be committing financial abuse by misusing or stealing his or her funds, property, or other assets. If you notice unexplained withdrawals from the accounts, unnecessary purchases of services or goods, or cash or valuable items missing from the victim’s room, it is time to consult a nursing home injury lawyer in Maryland.
When the residents are denied care and services they need from their caregivers, it is considered neglect. Although it is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse, it is often overlooked. It can go from a failure to meet the basic needs of the resident (leaving them malnourished or dehydrated) to a failure to provide adequate help in basic hygiene practices and provide a safe and clean living environment.
Residents that are confused due to their condition are often uncertain of their surroundings, so they may try to leave the premises. If the nursing home employees fail to use or do not have the established security system that alerts them of the eloping residents, the residents may end up getting hurt. This is especially dangerous during the winter when hypothermia can threaten the resident.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse also happens in nursing homes. Assaults, coerced nudity, unwanted touch, or any other sexual contact that is without consent is considered sexual abuse. Residents with memory loss or communication issues are susceptible to sexual abuse by their caregivers, staff, or other residents.
Neglect vs. Abuse
The terms ‘neglect’ and ‘abuse’ are often interchangeably used to refer to the residents harmed in nursing homes. However, these words include different types of mistreatment.
When the person experiences neglect, he or she does not get the care they need to have a high quality of life. Negligence can be active or passive. Passive is usually unintentional, for example, when a care facility does not have enough staff. The active neglect is intentional, so the perpetrator knowingly disregards the senior’s needs.
Abuse happens when the perpetrator is knowingly causing harm or serious risk to the resident.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Maryland?
Reporting the situation to the authorities is essential if you suspect your loved one is in danger or abused and neglected. They can help you remove your loved one from the nursing home, so health care employees, police officers, and human service workers are required by law to report suspected abuse in Maryland.
If the case is an emergency and your loved one is in immediate danger, you should call 911. In cases that are not emergency, you have a right to notify one of the following organizations:
- Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) – this organization monitors the quality of care in Maryland’s health care facilities. Its goal is to ensure there is public confidence in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- Maryland Adult Protective Services – this is a Maryland Department of Human Services program that prevents and remedies the abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
- Maryland Long-Term Care Ombudsman – ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They work to resolve issues of individual residents and to bring about changes that will improve their care and quality of life.
- Maryland Office of the Attorney General – Ask for Medicaid Fraud Control Division when you contact this office, as they prosecute both Medicaid frauds and nursing home abuse cases.
It is vital to provide accurate information about the alleged case, as it will speed up the process of investigation and help your loved one get out of the situation faster. Here are some important details you need to provide:
- The name, age, and location of your senior family member
- Their current condition (regarding incapacity)
- The manes and any other information about the alleged abusers
- Information about the injuries and further details about the abuse or neglect
The next step is to talk to a Baltimore nursing home abuse attorney, as his or her presence will empower you to deal with nursing home administrators and staff members that are not willing to talk to you. We are here to make the negligent nursing home accountable for its actions, as our seniors deserve a high quality of life. After we have adequate evidence, we can build a powerful legal claim on your behalf.
Causes of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
Your nursing home negligence attorney in Maryland must prove that a nursing home or its employees acted negligently to hold them liable for any damages suffered by the victim. If any of the following situations are present, we will work to prove that they fail to do their job properly:
There must be a reasonable amount of staff in every nursing home, as they will have enough time to provide adequate care to every resident. When there are not enough employees, the residents are more susceptible to negligence and abuse.
Not properly investigating the employees may result in people with criminal records, drug abuse, or behavioral issues falling through the nursing home investigative cracks. Nursing homes must hire professionals with the proper medical degrees, relevant experience, and training, along with no record of violence.
Nursing home employees must be properly trained to provide the residents with a proper level of care. If the inadequately trained employees fail to recognize the resident’s health conditions, it can put their health at risk and have serious consequences.
Breach of Resident’s Rights
Nursing home residents have the right to:
- Participate in one’s own care
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Dignity, respect, and freedom
Violating residents’ rights may hold a nursing home liable, so they must meet federal standards that entitle seniors to enjoy individual dignity and self-determination.
Nursing homes must create a safe environment for their residents. Suppose an intruder, another resident, or a visitor injures a resident. In that case, the nursing home can be found liable – they must provide adequate security measures to prevent such acts from occurring.
Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in Baltimore: Client Reviews
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Nursing Home Attorney Near Me: Contact Dubo Law at (443) 275-6345
We are happy to arrange a meeting hear what you have to say. If you noticed your senior family member changed their behavior or has injuries that cannot be explained, it is time to seek legal guidance from the compassionate nursing home neglect lawyer in Maryland.
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