Placing a loved one in a nursing home is usually an emotional decision, but it’s one that will benefit your loved one. It will allow them to receive the care and attention they need in a community where they can have a high quality of life.
When a Maryland nursing home doesn’t take care of its residents, the results can be devastating injuries. Your loved one won’t have the quality of life they deserve, and an abusive or neglectful environment could put their life at stake.
If your loved one is being abused at their assisted care facility in Maryland, a Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyer from Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can help you with your personal injury claim. With our lawyers at your side, you can rest assured that we will protect your loved one’s rights.
We will fight to get them fair compensation for what they’ve endured. We won’t settle for anything less than what your loved one deserves and will take the personal injury or wrongful death case to court if necessary.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have in Maryland?
When choosing a nursing home, you may wonder about state and federal regulations. According to the Maryland Department of Health, every long-term care facility resident has certain rights.
All Maryland nursing home residents have the right to:
- Reside in a facility that provides reasonable accommodations to their needs and preferences
- Receive treatment, medical care, and services that promote a high quality of life
- A dignified existence with access to communication with individuals and services inside and outside their facility
- Be free from coercion, discrimination, and all types of abuse
- Choose a physician and pharmacy
- Participate in and be fully informed about their care and treatment and possible changes to it
- Consent to or refuse treatment
- Access records within 24 hours
- Consent to or deny visitors
- Voice grievances without the fear of reprimand
- Share a room with a spouse
- Participate in social, religious, and community activity
As a family member, you have the right to meet with the nursing facility, its residents, and the families of those individuals. If you believe your loved one’s nursing home violated any of these rights, you also have the right to take legal action on their behalf with the help of our attorneys.
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Elder abuse can occur in several forms. While some of the abuse can happen because a person who is supposed to provide care has malicious intentions, it can also occur when there aren’t enough nursing home staff members.
Not having enough people can mean they’re overworked and can’t get to every resident to attend to all of their needs. This is no excuse for abuse or neglect to occur, but it does mean that some residences aren’t run as well as others.
The different types of elder abuse that may occur in Maryland nursing facilities include:
When Baltimore nursing home staff members use force on an elderly person that causes pain, bodily harm, or impairment, that constitutes physical abuse against a resident. Common types of physical abuse residents endure include:
- Using physical or chemical restraints
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Using verbal or nonverbal means to inflict pain, anguish, or distress is emotional abuse. Psychological abuse encompasses verbal abuse that causes emotional distress and can include:
- Using negative language to put down seniors
An additional example of emotional abuse may be if a caregiver keeps an elderly person from friends or social activities through isolation.
Any instance in which someone illegally uses a resident’s assets or other property (without their consent) may constitute financial abuse. This illicit activity could include:
- Forging signatures
- Stealing cash or possessions
- Coercing someone to sign something they don’t understand for the financial gain of the perpetrator
Some seniors living in nursing homes may have dementia or another form of memory loss. Negligent employees can take advantage of their confusion or memory loss and use it to steal the elder’s money.
Assault, unwanted touching, coerced nudity, or any other form of sexual contact without consent is sexual abuse. Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or bruises may be signs of sexual abuse. Most nursing home residents with memory loss or communication issues may be unable to verbalize what’s happening to them.
A confused nursing home resident may try to leave the premises because they’re uncertain of their surroundings. Nursing home employees should have training on this matter and follow an established security system that alerts them of eloping residents.
When negligent nursing homes do not have procedures or security in place, a resident could leave and get hurt. This is especially dangerous in the winter when hypothermia is an issue.
Nursing home facilities have a responsibility to take care of the residents in their charge. Negligent nursing homes that become frustrated with residents with extensive medical needs may decide to abandon them, leaving them vulnerable to suffering a personal injury. This could happen at a public place like a shopping mall or grocery store, or they could even leave the senior at a hospital.
Distinguishing Between Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
You may have heard the words “abuse” and “neglect” used interchangeably in regard to residents who are harmed in their assisted living facilities. These words, however, imply different types of mistreatment. When an individual faces abuse, the perpetrator is knowingly causing harm or serious risk.
General nursing home neglect is when a senior doesn’t get the care they need. This could be:
- Not administering their proper medication
- Failing to assist with hygiene or doing everyday tasks
- Not giving the seniors what they need to have a high quality of life
Nursing home neglect can be passive or active. If an overwhelmed Baltimore nursing home doesn’t have enough staff, the neglect could be passive in the sense that it is unintentional. When neglect is active, nursing home staff knowingly disregards the elder’s needs.
No one deserves this kind of treatment, especially those who may not be able to speak up for themselves. Our Belsky & Horowitz, LLC lawyers are dedicated to helping vulnerable individuals like your loved one who have been subjected to abuse or neglect. We’ll make sure that the voices of victims of nursing home abuse in Maryland are heard.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
You may suspect your loved one is being subjected to abuse or neglect but don’t know what to look for. There are a few signs you can check when you’re visiting. It may also help if you visit often and during non-peak visiting times. Speaking to other residents’ families may also give you a better idea of the treatment others receive at the nursing home.
Typical signs of abuse and neglect include:
Unexplained Nursing Home Injuries
While an occasional bump may happen, multiple bruises, cuts, bedsores or other physical marks are not normal for nursing home residents to have. Unexplained, serious injuries like broken bones could be from falls, indicating that the staff engages in a fair amount of nursing home neglect.
Falls usually happen when a senior, who needs assistance with mobility, tries to do something independently because there isn’t someone there to help them. An example of this is when the nursing home fails to help, compelling the resident to get up to go to the bathroom or reach for something. Seniors’ coordination may be poor, their bones may be brittle, and thus it’s easy for them to lose their equilibrium, suffering broken bones.
Your loved one may complain about treatment at the home or express fear or sadness when you’re visiting them.
Malnourishment or Dehydration
Nutrition and hydration are essential for seniors to stay healthy and prevent illness. If you notice a significant weight drop or your loved one is visibly dehydrated, they may not be getting the medical care they need.
Change in Mood and Behavior
Elder abuse can change a talkative and happy person to someone who’s withdrawn, moody, or displays other signs of emotional distress or mental anguish. A sudden inability to communicate or lack of lucidity could be signs of overmedication.
Poor Personal Hygiene
Your loved one should have baths and wear clean clothes regularly, as well as have fresh sheets in their bed. If you notice they’re in stained or soiled clothes, they’re not getting proper care.
Look around the Baltimore nursing home in general. It should be clean and sanitary to reduce the chance of disease and provide a comforting environment to nursing home patients.
If you see one or more of the signs above, it’s time to get in touch with a Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyer. They will help guide you throughout the process of filing a Baltimore nursing home abuse type of personal injury lawsuit to hold a nursing home accountable.
You can help your loved one get out of an abusive environment and to a place where they can get the care they need by doing so. We offer a free consultation with a Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyer at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC to all prospective personal injury clients.
How Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Reported in Maryland?
If you suspect your loved one is being subjected to abuse and neglect, it is vital to report those suspicions to the proper authorities. They can provide guidance as to how to remove your loved one who is facing nursing home abuse from their situation.
Maryland law requires certain professionals, which are called mandated reporters, to report any instances in which they suspect nursing home abuse. Examples of individuals that must report nursing home abuse include:
- Health care providers
- Human service workers
- Police officers
Anyone, however, has the right to report suspected abuse to the nursing home facility management and the appropriate authorities.
Individuals who report abuse or neglect are protected by law. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger at their nursing home, call 911.
Filing Non-Emergency Complaints About Maryland Nursing Homes
If you search online, you’ll find plenty of horror stories about the nursing home industry. If you have a non-urgent, non-life-threatening situation with an assisted living facility, you should speak with the nursing home operator where your loved one lives and also notify one of the following organizations:
- Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman. This organization, which forms part of the Maryland Department of Aging, works to resolve problems involving long-term care facility residents and quality of care issues at these nursing homes.
- Maryland Office of the Attorney General. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds to uphold certain standards. Nursing home abuse would certainly violate the standards as established under the Nursing Home Reform Act. If you contact this office, ask for the Medicaid Fraud Control Division. They prosecute Baltimore nursing home abuse cases.
- Maryland Adult Protective Services. This program, which forms part of the Maryland Department of Human Services, works to prevent and remedy elder abuse since this population may be in immediate danger and unable to protect their own interests.
- Maryland Office of Health Care Quality. This agency of the Maryland Department of Health will investigate complaints of resident abuse and assist with criminal prosecution.
When you report the ill treatment your loved one was subjected to, it’s important to include as many details as possible—which can also help your nursing home abuse attorney later. This will help speed the investigation into the nursing home abuse along and help your loved one get out of a bad situation faster. When reporting abuse in nursing homes, try to include the following information:
- The name, age, and location of your loved one
- Their current condition regarding incapacity
- The names and any other information about the individuals who have allegedly abused or neglected your loved one
- Details about the nursing home abuse or neglect—including information about your loved one’s injuries
After you’ve reported the treatment that your loved one has endured and have ensured the safety of your loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney.
A nursing home abuse lawyer in our Baltimore office can guide you through the complicated legal process that is filing a civil lawsuit. Our abuse and neglect attorneys have extensive experience handling various types of personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death claims.
Our Maryland legal system allows for the filing of a nursing home abuse lawsuit to ensure the negligent nursing facility is held accountable for any abuse and neglect they inflicted or allowed to occur on their premises. It can be difficult to go up against a large facility like a Baltimore nursing home, but our lawyers at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC have experience and the law on their side and can help you.
How Can a Lawyer Help You Prove Your Loved One Has Been Abused?
Once you have contacted our Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyers, you’ll be able to file a claim. This claim is the first step to recovering financial compensation and justice.
Personal injury claims for nursing homes are multifaceted, and a lot of evidence will need to be presented to prove your loved one was wronged. An abuse lawyer from our office can start an investigation, conduct interviews, and examine medical records to prove why the nursing home was negligent.
Proving that your loved one’s injuries were the direct result of nursing home negligence can be challenging. Your lawyer will need to show that the nursing home:
- Owed the individual a duty of care
- Breached their duty of care
- The long-term care facility resident suffered because of the breach
The elements may vary depending on who you’re going up against, but your lawyer will know how to present the facts to build a strong argument on behalf of your family member.
Damages Recoverable in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases
Once it has been proven that your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse, your lawyer can go about calculating damages, which are intended to compensate the resident for their sufferings.
The term “damages” refers to compensation that can be recovered to reimburse a personal injury victim for the incident-related costs they’ve amassed and also the mental and physical toll it’s had on them and their closest loved ones.
Generally, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and the costs of medical treatment related to the injuries can be covered. Calculating a monetary value for emotional pain and suffering can be complicated, but your nursing home neglect attorney will make sure that the parties responsible for what happened to your loved one pay compensation that is both full and fair.
In addition to helping your family member recover, your nursing home neglect attorney will also be dedicated to ensuring no other residents face elder abuse. The negligent facility needs to understand that it cannot harm its elderly residents in any manner.
How Can You Seek Justice for Your Loved One in Baltimore?
While recognizing that your loved one is being mistreated is upsetting and overwhelming, you can get help for them. The Baltimore nursing home attorney team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC will investigate your loved one’s case and find evidence to support the claim. We will stand up for your loved one’s rights and ensure that the abusive nursing home is held accountable for its actions.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to review your claim. Our abuse and neglect lawyers help you determine how to proceed, and you’ll have peace of mind that someone is looking out for your loved one’s best interests.