How To Report Nursing Home Neglect in Maryland
When family members are worried that their loved one may be suffering from neglect, they may not know where to turn and wonder how to report nursing home neglect in Maryland. Attorney Roger Weinberg handles nursing home neglect cases and helps guide families through the process.
Nursing home residents usually have complex medical and assistance needs requiring 24-hour care. Families typically seek nursing home care when it is no longer possible to safely care for a person at home. For those who make that tough decision of choosing a nursing home to care for an aging loved one, they also have to face the dark reality of nursing home abuse and neglect.
How to Report a Nursing Home for Neglect – Start by Getting Legal Assistance
Anyone who puts a frail, vulnerable loved one in in a nursing home expects them to be kept safe and given competent care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and underfunded, and the care provided is lacking in quality, is negligent, or may even be so abusive that residents have suffered severe injuries or death.
If your loved one has been harmed by nursing home neglect or abuse and you wonder how to report that neglect, know there are legal steps to take to report the problem and stop it from continuing. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation through a lawsuit.
The Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual situation, evaluate whether neglect or abuse is occurring, and determine the best way to move forward. We can get help and justice for your loved one and help keep other residents from being harmed in the future. Call us today at 410-825-3161.
How to Report Neglect in a Nursing Home – Recognize the Signs and Know the Law
Maryland nursing home residents are protected under federal and state laws that make nursing homes liable both civilly and criminally if they fail to uphold the rights and protect residents’ health and safety. Nursing homes are monitored by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and must abide by the Code of Maryland Regulations and have policies and procedures in place that will prevent abuse and neglect of their residents. One step in understanding how to report nursing home neglect or abuse is knowing the law.
According to federal law, 42 CFR § 488.301, abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.” Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, financial, or sexual and involves intent to harm. Neglect is negligence that results from inaction or indifference and failure to act in a way that a reasonable caregiver would under the circumstances.
Everyone with a friend or relative in a nursing home should be aware of certain danger signs and be ready to act if they appear in order to stop nursing home abuse. Anyone who suspects that a nursing home resident has been neglected or victimized by abuse should convey the information to Adult Protective Services, the police, or the Office of Health Care Quality.
Some signs that abuse or neglect is occurring are:
- nexplained bruises, bedsores, infections, or broken bones
- Weight loss or dehydration
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
- Missing funds or belongings.
Certain professionals who know how to report the neglect or abuse are legally required to report suspected instances of nursing home mistreatment. Maryland law requires any health practitioner, police officer or human services worker who contacts, examines, attends or treats a vulnerable adult and who has reason to believe the elderly person has been subjected to abuse, neglect or exploitation to report that fact to the local department of social services. This should be done as soon as possible after the discovery. In fact, personnel in these positions should immediately tell the director of the institution and then make the report by calling the local social services office, by going in person, or by writing a letter outlining the details.
What to Include in a Report for Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Items to include in the report of nursing home neglect or abuse, if possible, include:
- The name, age, and home address of the vulnerable adult
- The name and address of the person responsible for providing care
- The present location of the alleged vulnerable adult
- The nature of the alleged vulnerable adult’s incapacity
- The type and extent of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including any evidence
- The cause of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- The identity of the individual responsible.
Maryland’s Legal Terminology for Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
For reference, Maryland defines a vulnerable adult as a person over the age of 18 who lacks the physical or mental capacity to provide for himself.
Neglect is purposefully depriving a vulnerable adult of adequate food, clothing, essential medical treatment or therapy, shelter, or supervision.
Abuse is the sustaining of any physical injury by a vulnerable adult as a result of cruel or inhumane treatment or as a result of a malicious act by any person.
Exploitation refers to financial abuse and is defined as any action which involves the misuse of a vulnerable adult’s funds, property, or person.
More Details on How to Report Neglect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home quality varies widely from caregiver to caregiver. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and protected from avoidable pain and neglect that can lead to injury or death.
If you suspect that an elderly person is being mistreated at the hands of a nursing home caregiver, don’t ignore your instincts. Know how to report that nursing home neglect or abuse, and do it.
Nursing home patients may not be able to communicate about abuse or may be afraid to do so and rely on visitors to be on the lookout for signs of abuse.
Anyone who thinks that elder abuse is happening needs to notify the proper officials. Here are some options on how to report nursing home neglect or abuse:
- Call 1-800-91-PREVENT (1-800-917-7383) to reach Maryland Adult Protective Services. Anybody making a report to this office is protected by state law, which ensures that any person who makes a report in good faith, or participates in an investigation or a judicial proceeding resulting from a report, is immune from any civil liability that would otherwise result.
- Call 1-800-AGE-DIAL (1-800-243-3425) to reach the Maryland Department of Aging. This office was established to protect the rights and quality of life of senior citizens in our state. The department works throughout Maryland and can easily offer assistance.
- At the same number, 1-800-AGE-DIAL, request the office of the Ombudsman for People in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. This office advocates for residents of nursing homes or other adult care facilities, working to improve services and quality of life for residents.
- The Older Americans Act of 1965 established the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to protect the rights and promote the well-being of residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Every county in Maryland has a local ombudsman office. To reach one, call the Senior Information and Assistance Office in your county and they will connect you. Find the county office numbers at this link.
- Call 1-888-743-0023 to contact the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. This office is particularly helpful in cases of suspected exploitation of elderly citizens. It has formulated an Elder Abuse Initiative in an effort to lower the number of crimes committed against vulnerable adults. The attorney general’s office also offers a free publication on avoiding scams and fraud.
- Call 1-877-402-8201 for Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality, a division of the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This office oversees the licensing of nursing homes and will conduct an investigation after receiving a complaint involving abuse or neglect.
Then Call Our Maryland Nursing Home Law Firm
You’ll need assistance and advice through this process. If you suspect your loved one may have been harmed while living in a long-term care facility or a nursing home, call the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, at 410-825-3161. Our dedicated elder abuse law attorneys have experience handling these tough situations. They know how to report nursing home abuse and they know how to act on it to protect your loved one. You can trust us to represent you and to fight for your family. Schedule your free consultation today and help speak for the voiceless, stop nursing home neglect and abuse from happening, and get help for your loved one and other vulnerable residents.