Nursing homes are supposed to provide residents with the care and environment needed to live the highest quality of life possible. It’s important to note that a person’s potential quality of life will differ depending on any physical conditions, their mental status, and their age, but long-term care facilities have a responsibility to offer high-quality services and support. When a negligent facility fails to do so, intentionally or otherwise, they can be held accountable for their actions. That’s where a Rockville nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we’re dedicated to ensuring nursing home residents in Maryland are given the opportunity to hold negligent facilities accountable in the event they sustain injuries while living in one. We recognize that nursing home abuse can take quite the toll on a family, so we’re here to provide your loved one with the support and guidance they need to take legal action against the facility that wronged them and recover as fully as possible from what they were put through.
Filing a personal injury claim can be complicated, especially when you’re dealing with a facility like a nursing home. It’s likely they’ll try to refute what your loved one experienced or they’ll come up with excuses. Taking a case like that on by yourself is more likely to result in a poor outcome for your family. When you work with our attorneys, we’ll fight to ensure your loved one receives full and fair compensation for their injuries and other losses.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home, it’s important to be on the lookout for potential warning signs of abuse or neglect. You may be able to detect these as early as your first visit. Types of abuse include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial.
If your loved one is being abused physically, it’s likely they’ll have unexplained broken bones, sprains, or bruising. They may seem to shy away from your questions regarding their injuries. You’ll also know there’s a problem if a caregiver like a nurse or other nursing home staff member refuses to let you be alone with your loved one.
Emotional abuse takes many forms, but it typically isolates residents from everything and everyone around them. Abusive staff members may call residents names, prevent them from attending social or religious activities, or exhibit controlling or threatening behaviors. Residents suffering from emotional abuse often become withdrawn and express little interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
Sexual abuse can happen between a staff member and a resident or between two residents. Signs of sexual abuse in the elderly include unexplained STDs, stained or torn clothing, and irregular behavior. If you suspect a nursing home resident is being abused, it’s important to make a report immediately.
Financial exploitation can happen in a number of ways, but it’s most likely to be noticed if there have been changes in your family member’s financial situation or changes to the power of attorney. Negligent staff may steal money or valuables from residents’ rooms, or they could abuse their power to gain access to banking information.
While typically unintentional, it’s important to be aware of the issue of neglect. Residents suffering from neglect in long-term care facilities for a number of reasons, but inadequate training of staff members and poor hiring practices are the leading causes. Residents may go without meals, develop bedsores due to immobility, or go without necessary medication.
No matter how your loved one has suffered in their nursing home, working with a Rockville lawyer is important if you’re looking to help them recover as fully as possible. We can investigate their injuries, and determine what happened and why. When it comes to determining what’s owed, we’ll look at how the resident was affected.
The Effects of Nursing Home Abuse on Residents
When a resident is abused or neglected, the consequences have the potential to be long-lasting. Immediate effects are often related to physical abuse or neglect, like when someone sustains injuries. It’s likely hospital treatment will be required, especially in the event of internal injuries, broken bones, or incorrect medication. If the abuse continues over time, it’s likely for weight loss, malnutrition, insomnia, and increased vulnerability to infections to develop.
In addition to the physical effects, there are also psychological implications. Visiting family members may notice their loved ones acting strangely. Those who are mentally abused are more at risk for depression and other conditions like anxiety, eating disorders, and agitation.
In addition to the direct effects your loved one could face in a negligent nursing home, there’s also the cost. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the direct medical costs associated with nursing home injuries add $5.3 billion to the nation’s annual health expenditures, which includes $2.8 billion per year in Medicare hospitals costs. Additionally, financial abuse costs seniors over $2.6 billion annually.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Loved One in Maryland
It’s estimated that 93% of elder abuse cases, in and out of nursing homes, go unreported every year. If you have a family member living in a long-term care facility, it’s important to keep in touch with them as often as possible. Even if they’re unwilling to come forward as a victim of abuse, you may be able to recognize something isn’t right and prevent a disaster.
If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected or they’ve come forward with information, your first step is to file a report. With a nursing home in Rockville, you’ll want to file a report with the Office of Health Care Quality. If the abuse is related to finances, Adult Protective Services will look into the matter. If your loved one has Medicaid, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will also get involved. Additionally, you can file a complaint with the Maryland Department of Aging, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
After you’ve filed a complaint, you’ll want to get in touch with a Rockville nursing home abuse attorney. While you’re focusing on removing your family member from their current situation, we can begin conducting our own investigation to determine what’s been going on. After your loved one is safe and has begun recovering, we’ll work to help you understand the legal process and what your role will be in ensuring your loved one has the compensation they need to recover.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Rockville Law Firm
Relying on a nursing home to care for your grandparent, parent, or other relative can be difficult, but learning they’ve been abused or neglected is crushing. That’s why our Rockville nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to helping victims recover from abuse and working to ensure negligent facilities address issues and refrain from harming others.
Nursing home abuse claims can be lengthy, so the sooner you file with us, the better your chances are of having a successful case. We’ll speak with you and your loved one at length, so you understand your legal rights and options and have an idea of what to expect as we proceed. To schedule a consultation or to learn more, contact our office today.