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Nursing Home Lawyer Baltimore, MD

Nursing Home Lawyer Baltimore, MD

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers MarylandFamily members who are concerned about their aging relative in a nursing home facility, can rely on a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD for advice on how to take action. Nursing home mistreatment is a serious issue for our legal team at Brown Kiely LLP, with neglect being a top form of abuse against the elderly. Nursing home neglect occurs when staff fails to provide a proper level of care to their residents. When a senior resident is being neglected, there may be signs that something just isn’t right. Contact us immediately if any of the following red flags are observed in your loved one:

Lack of Personal Hygiene

When tending to senior residents, care staff must help with personal hygiene. A number of residents probably need assistance getting themselves dressed, brushing their hair, showering, clipping fingernails, and cleaning their teeth. A resident may quickly become neglected and suffer from poor personal hygiene if left alone to do these tasks independently but aren’t capable of doing so.

Examples of lack of personal hygiene that may signal your loved one needs more care than their nursing home is providing:

  •         They are dehydrated because they are not able to drink by themselves or they are forgetting to drink by themselves. Dehydration can show up as a variety of symptoms, some of those are: they may have a dry mouth, they may be tired, their eyes may appear sunken, they will not be urinating regularly, their urine will be a darker color than normal, they’ll have muscle cramping and they may feel dizzy. Knowing these signs can allow you to help hydrate them and contact an attorney about your loved one’s care, as dehydration can cause issues with the other organs, especially if there are any underlying causes that are not being treated or taken care of properly.
  •         Your loved one is showing signs of malnourishment, because while they are receiving food, they are unable to eat the food provided (could be that it is not soft enough, or otherwise health related), or they cannot eat the food without some extra help. Some signs of malnourishment or malnutrition, which can potentially save your loved one’s life if caught, are: are you noticing their weight seems to be trending downwards? Ask yourself the following questions about how you can help better their eating habits: are their eating habits changing, are their medications known to affect their ability to be hungry, do you have a meal plan in place that you know your loved one enjoys, are you able to use local services such as meal deliveries or otherwise ensure your loved one has food they enjoy, and can you turn meals into social events so that it’s less like something they have to do and more like something they want to do.
  •         Your loved one may also show signs of having forgotten their medications for their treatments, if no one is watching them take the medicines, they may not remember too.  The symptoms for forgetting medications vary depending on what the medication treats and what your loved one has that they’re treating.
  •         Your loved one’s bedroom may be very dirty, as if they’re forgetting to take out the trash and clean up after themselves. Obviously, in a nursing home, your loved one should have a nurse who checks in with them daily and even does some of the above. So if it isn’t happening, reaching out to an attorney may be your best bet to understand if abuse is happening and stop further abuses.
  •         Their bedsheets may be soiled, or their living conditions may be otherwise unsanitary, if you can smell urine, you should definitely look at how they are treating your loved one.
  •         Does your loved one have clothing that fits? If they do not, it may be because they are neglecting their own self-care and the nursing home has not caught that they need more help than they were previously receiving.

Nursing homes tend to have high turnover rates, meaning there may not be enough care staff around to adequately tend to each resident’s personal hygiene. In Baltimore, MD our nursing home lawyer can help you decide whether neglect may be happening to your cherished family member.

Dirty Living Conditions

Nursing homes must always provide senior residents with a room or space that is clean and safe. Federal law requires nursing home facilities to uphold protocols that reduce infection, in addition to offering sanitary and comfortable living quarters. If you recently went to visit your loved one and saw the living conditions were unkempt, the bed was soiled, or other signs that cleaning has not been done in some time, please contact a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD immediately. Here at Brown Kiely LLP, we can help you take action before the situation escalates further.

Weak Mobility

A nursing home facility must see that residents get around and are as active as possible, based on their capabilities and limitations. Many nursing home facilities have programs for walking, so residents can build muscle strength, improve circulation, reduce spasms, and increase their balance. If a resident becomes neglected, he or she may have to lay in bed for several hours or days at a time.

If you believe your senior loved one had been bedridden for so long that he or she lost mobility entirely, do not hesitate to seek representation from a Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyer.

Psychological Distress

Neglect can also cause problems psychologically for a senior resident, especially if he or she comes to fear caregivers and is afraid to speak up about mistreatment. A senior resident may withdraw from family and endure emotional outbursts. Any major emotional changes in your senior relative must be taken very seriously and addressed quickly. A resident may even refuse to perform daily self-care in response to the neglect, by doing things like denying food and not taking necessary medications.

Nursing home abuse is not something we take lightly at Brown Kiely LLP. Do not shrug off signs that things aren’t right at the nursing home facility. Please don’t let another day go by with your loved one being treated this way, let us help put a stop to it. Call our law firm promptly so a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD can advise you on the best course of action depending on the circumstances of the neglect.

If your family member has experienced mistreatment at a nursing home, it may be time to speak to a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD. Your loved one deserves justice. A lawyer may help your family member pursue a lawsuit against the nursing home.

Understaffing in Nursing Homes

Understaffing is one of the most common, yet indirect, causes of nursing home abuse. Across the U.S., including Maryland, many staff of nursing homes are underpaid and overworked. Due to this problem, it is more likely for these caregivers to engage in practices that could be considered abusive or neglectful. 

If your loved one has been mistreated while living in a nursing home, and you believe it has something to do with the facility lacking staff, please call a Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyer. 

Why Nursing Homes Can Be Understaffed

Although no two understaffing situations may be exactly alike, it is possible for some management or owners to have intentional reasons for keeping the facility understaffed; labor costs is one of these. Nursing homes also have a very high turnover rate. This is often associated with long working hours and an environment that can be considerably stressful. When a facility is unable to keep their nurses and assistants, the residents might be neglected in some way or another. A high turnover rate can result in overworking remaining staff; thereby causing them to be overwhelmed and unable to take care of each patient properly. When this results in an injury or death, a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD should be sought. 

Sometimes nursing homes are intentionally understaffed by the owners or the management of the facility. This is typically done because paying their workers can take a toll on the overall economic status of the nursing facility itself, as well as the people that own or run it. When this happens, they will intentionally skew the numbers to favor a high resident to staff ratio. 

By skewing the ratios, it looks like everything at this nursing facility is good despite the low number of staff members.

Another reason a nursing home may be understaffed is that they have trouble keeping trained nurses, or even have issues training them. This means that they have a high turnover rate and that can cause the available staff to be constantly overscheduled and overworked, which can cause them to be overwhelmed and lead to neglect.

In both of these instances, the staff may become overwhelmed and start cutting corners while doing their duties.

Overtime at Nursing Homes

As a leading nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD, many of the cases we handle tend to involve staff who are overworked. In the nursing home industry, working overtime is particularly common. While many employees might feel that overtime is a benefit, the extra hours can take a toll on the body. That being said, owners and management of nursing homes tend to favor staff who take on the extra work. While this can garner respect, it can also create an awkward, albeit stressful, environment in which staff feel obligated to work longer hours. Sadly, this can result in patient neglect and abuse. 

Overtime is another issue in nursing facilities—this a common thing in most nursing facilities and nursing jobs. This can contribute to the stress levels of the nursing facility’s staff, because they are working longer and longer hours. Overtime is often a benefit to many staffers because it increases their wages.

Furthermore, overtime shows that the staff member is loyal to the facility and that can get them respect from the admin. But this can cause a dynamic to develop where the staff members feel like they must work unreasonable hours to gain respect—and this causes patient care to suffer severely.

Consequences of Understaffing

There are a broad range of consequences that can result from understaffing at a nursing home. Some of these include:

  •         Residents may not be properly attended to.
  •         Staff may be stressed and more prone to be abusive or neglectful. 
  •         Any abuse or neglect may exacerbate issues amongst the residents. 
  •         Psychological and physical illnesses can occur in staff members; thereby, leading to a further decrease in staff, and more suffering in patients. 

Immobile residents may particularly be at risk when a facility is understaffed. These patients rely on their caregivers for any movement needs, as well as, psychological needs. If there is not enough staff at the facility, an immobile patient might not be moved as often as they should. Bed sores, muscle atrophy, infections, and hygiene problems could develop. As a nursing home lawyer Baltimore, MD resident’s trust, bed sores are very common in neglect cases, and have been the cause of a number of serious injuries and deaths. 

The consequences have a variety of ranges, and causes, but for patients who suffer from immobility—the inability to move on their own—they require their caregiver to provide most if not all of their ambulatory needs. This means they need help eating, walking, going to the bathroom, being turned over in bed and more. With this kind of care required, it can be catastrophic if caregivers neglect them.

When a nursing home is overstaffed it may be impossible for the nursing staff to make enough rounds on all of the non-ambulatory patients to get them turned over as often as they need, and this may lead to muscle atrophy, infections and bedsores among other things.

If you or a loved one has been neglected or abused while living in a nursing home, and understaffing may be part of the cause, please call a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD now.

Top Signs That You May Need a Nursing Home Lawyer

If you’ve got a loved one who may be dealing with elder abuse, it can feel challenging to know what to do. Not only that, but it can be hard to know whether or not you need to take action.

If you have a loved one who is in a nursing home and you feel concerned about them, it can be a good idea to seek out a nursing home lawyer Baltimore, MD like Brown Kiely Law LLP and also keep your eyes out for these signs of elder abuse. 

1. Poor Living Conditions

If you suspect elder abuse may be occurring at your loved one’s nursing facility, then one of the primary things you need to look at are the overall living conditions there. For elders and especially elders who may have health concerns, a clean and comfortable space to live in is important. If there is abuse or neglect occurring, then you will likely see some signs that their living space is not being well taken care of. This could mean overflowing trash or disorganized bedrooms. 

2. Emotional Distress

Something else that you might notice when elder abuse is occurring is emotional distress. This can take different forms, depending on the individual in question. Some elders who are being abused may go from being friendly and talkative to sullen and withdrawn. Others may express their distress through bouts of anger and emotional outbursts. When it comes an elder showing signs of emotional distress, it is important to consider what is typical for them when it comes to behavior and to take note of anything that deviates noticeably from what is normal for them. 

3. An Understaffed Facility

Another sign that elder abuse could be an issue and you need to contact a nursing home lawyer Baltimore, MD soon is that a facility is clearly understaffed. In this situation, you may see signs that neglect is taking place because there simply aren’t enough workers and the facility to take care of everything. Signs of this can include residents not getting routine care on time, or not receiving their medications on the right schedule. You may also notice that elders are going unattended for long periods of time and that there is rarely a staff member around when something is needed. 

4. Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene is another sign of elder abuse that should cause concern and even lead you to contact someone like Brown Kiely Law LLP if you take note of it. Along with other forms of neglect, poor hygiene shows that an elder is not getting the attention or the level of care that they need to be comfortable and healthy. Signs of this can manifest as finger and toenails that aren’t being trimmed, hair that is unkempt, or other indicators that they are not being bathed regularly. 

Having a loved one that may potentially be subjected to elder abuse can be a difficult thing to deal with. While it may not feel clear as to what you should do, you can make sure that you are taking a step in the right direction by contacting an elder abuse law professional. 

Other Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

People place their family members in nursing homes expecting them to be well taken care of. They may never imagine their loved one being mistreated by staff members. Unfortunately, however, nursing home residents can experience abuse and neglect. Here are the most common causes of nursing home abuse and neglect.

  • Poor training. To ensure nursing home residents receive adequate care, staff members must receive proper training. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Some nursing homes may skimp on training to save money. If there’s inadequate training, many problems can occur, such as improperly administering medication, not knowing how to perform CPR and not changing the residents’ bedsheets.
  • Inadequate wages. Taking care of nursing home residents can be a difficult job and staff members aren’t always paid well. As a result, these positions may attract inexperienced candidates who only care about getting a paycheck. As a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD can confirm, low-paid staff members may become resentful toward residents and not care if they do a good job or not.
  • Lack of consequences. Believe it or not, many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go uninvestigated or unpunished. Nursing homes know that consequences are rare and may continue to mistreat their residents.
  • Low-quality facilities. As a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD can attest, some nursing home facilities may not have a high operating budget and can’t afford proper resources as a result. Residents may go without necessary amenities, like toiletry items. 

If your loved one has endured nursing home abuse or neglect, it may be beneficial to schedule a consultation with a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD promptly.

Is it Possible for an Elder to Be Financially Exploited in a Nursing Home?

At Brown Kiely LLP, we receive frequent calls from loved ones who are concerned about missing money, modified wills, and questionable financial matters related to their elderly loved ones who reside in nursing facilities. While a majority of people might associate abuse or neglect in a nursing home with physical harm, a large number of cases actually involve financial exploitation. 

Financial exploitation in nursing homes occurs when money, assets, or property is taken through improper or illegal means. A great deal of financial exploitation occurs through coercion, intimidation, and deception. Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyers understand that financial exploitation that occurs in nursing homes is not only wrong, it is illegal. If the facility or a staff member is found guilty of it, they could be prosecuted by the state of Maryland. Even with these potential consequences in place, every day in the U.S. a staggering number of elders are being exploited in nursing homes. Unacceptably, it often takes many years before this form of abuse is uncovered and addressed. 

Many elders are vulnerable because their minds are not as sharp as they once were, or they may be lonely and longing for communication. These vulnerabilities can lead them to be exploited in many ways. Whether it is a staff member, another patient, or even a family member of a patient, exploitation of the elders finances can happen. However, it is often a family member of the elder who will be involved. It is important to understand that you should speak with an experienced Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyer if you believe your loved one is being exploited financially, even if the person exploiting your loved one is a family member. Exploitation of finances can occur in several ways, including:

  •         Theft of personal property, items, or money
  •         Using funds without permissions
  •         Fraudulent bank transfers
  •         Embezzlement
  •         Coercion the elder into modifying wills, insurance policies, trusts, deeds, etc.
  •         Abusing a power of attorney
  •         Forging signatures

If you believe your elderly loved one is being financially exploited in a nursing home, you should assess the situation by speaking with an experienced Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyer about your options. If you’d like to take action before your consultation, consider the following steps:

  •         Talk with the elder about their finances. 
  •         If anything out of the ordinary is mentioned, (i.e. new investments), make a note and keep on the situation as it progresses. 
  •         If there is any money missing, try to locate bank records to find out where it is going. 

Additional signs of financial exploitation to be aware of:

  •         Sudden changes in documents
  •         Excessive ATM withdrawals
  •         Missing bank cards
  •         Unpaid bills
  •         Inability to purchase basic items
  •         Abrupt changes in investments
  •         New changes in the ownership of assets

Also note that in general, there are elderly people who are at more risk for financial exploitation. They include elders:

  •         With dementia
  •         Who have cognitive impairments
  •         Are easy to confuse
  •         Are frail or sick
  •         Are unable to take care of themselves
  •         Are incapacitated
  •         Are lonely or isolated
  •         Who don’t understand money management
  •         Have loved ones or friends with money issues or substance abuse problems

If you suspect someone you know and care about is being financially exploited, please contact an experienced Baltimore, MD nursing home lawyer today. We can help you to explore all legal options currently available to you and your loved one.