Nursing Home Lawyer in Maryland
A Nursing Home Lawyer, Maryland from Brown Kiely, LLP can be there for you if a loved one has suffered at the hands of those responsible for taking care of them. When people place their parents into a nursing home, they trust that their elders will be taken care of. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. There have been many cases of nursing home neglect in recent years. This occurs when a patient does not receive the level of physical or emotional care he or she needs.
- Some Quick Stats on Nursing Home Abuse
- 3 Myths About Nursing Home Abuse
- Collecting Evidence for a Nursing Home Abuse Case
- Maryland Nursing Home Infographic
- Common Reasons for Nursing Home Abuse by Staff
- Abuse Versus Neglect in Nursing Homes
- Facts About Emotional Elder Abuse
- Brown Kiely, LLP, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer
If your parent is a victim of nursing home neglect, you may want to contact an experienced lawyer from Brown Kiely.
Because families are not around their elders on a full-time basis once they enter a nursing home, they may be unsure whether their loved one is suffering abuse of any kind. When in doubt, it’s always good to err on the side of caution in order to protect your family member. If you believe they are suffering, you have the right to remove them from the facility as well as notify local law enforcement and request them to investigate.
In addition, it does not hurt to contact a Montgomery County nursing home lawyer from our firm to seek guidance. It’s important to understand your rights, and the rights of your family member who resides in a nursing home facility. A nursing home lawyer elders turn to from our firm can help your family recover damages from a negligent nursing home facility.
Some Quick Stats on Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is just one type of elder abuse, and it’s very hard to get accurate numbers because not every elderly person wants to admit they’re being abused. The National Council on Aging, or the NCOA, has worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) to get statistics that may help you better understand nursing home abuse.
The above organizations have found that women are more likely to be abused than men, lower socioeconomic status can lead to elder abuse, and individuals who have past trauma in their lives are more likely to be abused again. Mental health and physical health can play into the likelihood of being abused, too.
The NCOA found that roughly 6 out of every 10 elder abuse cases were caused by family members, and in 2020 the WHO found through a study that roughly 64% of nursing home staff members were committing some form of abuse towards their patients.
Environments that can worsen abuse are another factor to take into mind, such as social isolation where the elderly have no family or friends who visit, poor-quality nursing homes that are lacking in facilities and resources, and household size. The more people in a household, the greater the risk of abuse.
When you look at the four types of abuse: emotional, sexual, financial and physical, the above organizations were able to get some stats regarding those as well. Keep in mind, these stats are skewed as not every case is reported.
When it comes to physical nursing home abuse, the studies found that roughly 24% of residents would experience one instance of physical abuse while in the nursing home. This could be as simple as being pushed down, left in bed or in a chair all day, or other signs of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is the most prevalent type reported by nursing home staff members in 2020, according to the WHO. Almost 1 out of every 3 staff members admitted to emotionally abusing their patients. Emotional abuse is screaming at patients, or otherwise denying their emotional needs—even isolating patients falls into this category of abuse.
Furthermore, verbal abuse is the most often reported elder mistreatment when it comes to family members committing abuse. Verbal abuse goes hand-in-hand with emotional abuse, but does have its own category. This is screaming at patients, calling them names or otherwise verbally bullying them.
Sexual abuse was the least commonly reported, as the WHO found that less than 2% of nursing home residents reported cases. Sexual abuse is the least commonly reported, but this does not mean that it happens the least. People in these situations are least likely to report—especially if they are a man being sexually abused by a woman, or an older man, younger woman. In generally, elderly people want to hide this type of abuse because they usually talk themselves into being ashamed, and feeling at fault as do many victims of sexual abuse.
Financial abuse happens if an individual’s finances are exploited or withheld from them. Elders are most likely to experience this form of abuse, especially elders who have dementia and other issues remembering things. 1 in 20 older adults indicated that they suffered from financial abuse.
Understanding the overarching types of abuse can help you catch signs of said abuse. That’s probably why you invested in a nursing home, and you want to know they’re safe and being cared for. If you’ve noticed signs of nursing home abuse, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Though this is not an all-inclusive list, here are five common signs of nursing home neglect:
Malnutrition can result from nursing home neglect. Whether it is caused on purpose or from lack of proper oversight of the resident, poor nutrition can seriously affect their long term as well as short term health. Common signs of malnutrition include weight loss, lethargy, poor concentration, and a loss of appetite. If you believe your elderly loved one has suffered malnutrition in a nursing home, contact a lawyer from Brown Kiely LLP without delay.
A nursing home lawyer Montgomery County victims rely on can help you file a claim or lawsuit against those responsible. A settlement or jury award can make all the difference when it comes to making sure your loved one has the funds necessary to get the medical care they need.
Many nursing home residents rely on staff members to help them brush their teeth, take baths, cut their nails, and brush their hair. If staff members neglect to do this, residents’ personal hygiene may suffer. If you notice that your parent looks unkempt or smells bad, it’s likely that his or her personal hygiene needs aren’t being met. This can result in serious skin afflictions and other health concerns.
Nursing home residents who do not receive the proper care are in danger of suffering injuries. For example, if there is not a nurse available to help a resident walk to the bathroom, he or she may slip and fall and get hurt. If your elderly loved one has suffered bruises, broken bones, or other injuries, he or she probably isn’t getting the attention they need and deserve at the nursing home. When someone is advanced in age, a broken bone can be a very serious health concern and in some cases, can lead to death. It’s important to be proactive by consulting a nursing home lawyer Montgomery County loved ones choose for their elders who may not have a voice regarding their care.
Lack of Mobility
It is important for nursing home residents to exercise and move around frequently to strengthen their bones. Mobility is also necessary to keep their circulation healthy by delivering oxygen-rich blood to their brain and organs. If residents are left in bed for too many hours in a day, it can reduce their mobility and even put them at risk of infections and bedsores. It can also lead to depression. Depression can lead to a loss of appetite and adversely affect their physical and emotional health.
If your parent has sudden mobility issues, it could be a cause for concern. For that reason, it may be important to follow up with the nursing home staff to find out how much exercise your loved one is receiving. You may also wish to speak directly with the facility’s physician to look into your parent’s health concerns.
Unclean Living Conditions
Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure their living spaces and common areas are safe and clean for their residents. If they fail to do this, the residents can catch serious illnesses. It can also be detrimental to their state of mind to live in an unkempt living facility. When you visit your parents in the nursing home, be sure to check out the living conditions. Does he or she have a bed with fresh sheets? Are the bathroom and kitchen clean? If the nursing home appears to be unsanitary, disorganized, or dirty in some way, you may want to speak to a knowledgeable lawyer from Brown Kiely LLP.
At Brown Kiely LLP, we know how devastating it can be to find out your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect. We have helped many people in your situation obtain compensation from those responsible so that their loved ones could get the care they need. Our lawyers can help you file an injury claim or a lawsuit against the nursing home for your loved one’s mistreatment.
If you want to set up a free consultation to discuss your case, we encourage you to call us to talk to an experienced nursing home lawyer in MA from our law firm.
3 Myths About Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse Always Leaves Marks
Unfortunately, many families do not realize that their loved ones are being abused because they never see any bruises or other obvious signs of injury. However, there are many different types of abuse, and not all of them leave visible marks. Abuse can be verbal, emotional or sexual rather than physical, or it can involve withholding food or medicine. Some abusers deliberately avoid leaving marks on their victims to avoid being caught.
Because the signs of abuse are not always obvious, it is important to pay attention to your loved one’s overall health and condition. If you suspect abuse or neglect, even if there are no physical injuries visible, it may be time to contact Brown Kiely LLP and speak with a nursing home lawyer in Maryland.
Victims Will Always Speak Up
Do not make the mistake of assuming that your loved one will tell you if all is not well. There are many reasons why a person might choose to stay quiet about abuse. Some people are afraid to speak up because they worry that it might cause the abuse to escalate. Sometimes, the fear comes from shame and embarrassment. Many elderly people who live in nursing homes also live with dementia, confusion or memory loss, and this can affect their ability to understand or explain what is happening to them. They may even think there is no point in revealing the abuse because no one will believe them.
Families and friends should be vigilant and communicate frequently with loved ones in nursing homes. If your loved one tells you that mistreatment is occurring, you should take the report seriously and contact a nursing home lawyer in Maryland right away. A lawyer at Brown Kiely LLP can help you determine what steps to take next.
Abuse Only Occurs in Understaffed Facilities
Some people assume that elder abuse is limited to understaffed nursing homes where staff are overworked and stressed. While it is true that understaffing and caregiver stress can contribute to abusive or neglectful conditions in a nursing home, it is important to realize that abuse and neglect can happen anywhere. Abusers may target specific nursing home residents out of disdain for a certain person or group, or they may enjoy the feeling of having power over another person. This can happen in any facility, regardless of its size or budget. Contact a nursing home lawyer in Maryland if you believe your family member is being targeted.
Collecting Evidence for a Nursing Home Abuse Case
If you plan on working with a nursing home lawyer in Maryland to file an elder abuse lawsuit, you’ll want to make sure you gather evidence to support your case. Depending on the type of abuse your loved one has experienced, there are different ways to collect the necessary proof.
This type of abuse is usually relatively easy to gather proof of. Take pictures of the injuries your family member sustained and, if possible, document their account of what happened. Any witnesses to the incident will be helpful in corroborating your loved one’s version of events, so ask for statements from anyone who saw what happened. You should also obtain a copy of the incident report, which should have been filed at the time of the injury. If one was not filed, this may be a red flag and the absence of a report is also evidence.
An experienced nursing home lawyer in Maryland, like the attorneys at Brown Kiely, LLP, can help guide you through what information should be gathered and how to obtain it. A medical report and a doctor’s statement regarding how the injury could have been caused may also prove useful. Having your loved one evaluated by a medical professional will, at the very least, provide a timestamp for the status of the injuries.
While neglect can cause physical harm, there are often invisible effects of this type of abuse. Due to the nature of the injuries it causes, neglect can be more difficult to prove. A nursing home lawyer in Maryland can tell you what will be needed to move forward with your case. A psychological evaluation of emotional damages, as well as a physical examination done by a physician, offers an account of your loved one’s wellbeing. You can also take pictures of anything troubling you see, such as broken walkers, dirty living areas, or any other unsafe conditions.
Regardless of the type of abuse, there are some general guidelines for collecting the evidence you will need for a lawsuit. Document any conversations you have with staff and keep notes on your family member’s condition. Record any concerns you have and include your elder’s concerns, as well. Photographic evidence can be very helpful as a visual representation of the abuse.
If your loved one has experienced these or any other types of abuse, contact the caring and diligent lawyers at Brown Kiely, LLP.
The Four Steps of a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If you recently received news that your senior loved one has endured nursing home mistreatment, you can rely on us. We have been committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of people since 1998. Our team can offer experience and empathy when it comes to helping you take legal action against the facility responsible for this abuse or neglect. You may have already filed a report with the nursing home facility regarding these incidents of mistreatment. You may have found that the response you received was less than satisfactory, and are now interested in taking further action.
Finding out that the nursing facility is not going to properly address the allegation of resident mistreatment can be incredibly upsetting. You may then feel increasingly motivated to see that justice and compensation is sought. If there is a solid foundation for a lawsuit, then your lawyer at Brown Kiely LLP can help you prepare for the legal proceeding to come. In general, there are four steps involved when undertaking a lawsuit. These steps can include the following:
1. Gathering Information About the Allegation
Talk with your loved one about all the times he or she was left unattended to, physically harmed, felt threatened, or otherwise treated in an unsafe manner. You may realize that there were more situations than he or she had initially informed you of. Sometimes, it takes a victim of nursing home mistreatment a long time to finally speak up about what is going on. Your loved one may have feared worsened abuse, or that he or she would not be believed anyway.
2. Completing Necessary Paperwork
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit with the courts in the appropriate Maryland jurisdiction and waiting for the facility to receive notice of the legal action being taken. Your nursing home lawyer can oversee your completion of the paperwork to notify you of errors or statements that could potentially have a negative impact on the case.
3. Assembling Information for Discovery
Your nursing home lawyer can help you collect, organize and make copies of information that can be supportive to the case. The more details and proof you can bring forward regarding the mistreatment, the more likely you can get the settlement you are hoping for. Impactful evidence can include your loved one’s statements of the abuse, photographs of visible injuries, and witnesses who saw the incident happen.
4. Negotiation of Settlement and Trial
In most civil cases, rarely does it proceed forward to a court trial. What is likely to happen is a settlement is reached, where all parties involved are satisfied with the resolution. However, if you are not pleased with the settlement, then you can move forward to a trial where a judge and/or jury decide the outcome instead.
If you are worried about the safety of your loved one in a nursing home, we suggest reaching out to us right away. Please call us today for a free consultation with a nursing home lawyer clients recommend at Brown Kiely LLP. We can help you decide whether legal action may need to be taken regarding the mistreatment.
Maryland Nursing Home Infographic
Common Reasons for Nursing Home Abuse by Staff
There is no real excuse for why nursing home staff and nurses would abuse your loved one while in their case, however, there are some common explanations that may help you understand the situation and be more equipped during your lawsuit.
This can be one of the most common problems in nursing homes. When they have trouble keeping the proper number of staff, or choose to cut their budget, it can mean that there aren’t enough people to care for all of the residents. This is unacceptable no matter the reason.
- Poor Hiring Process and Under Qualified Staff
When staffing is an issue it can lead to facilities hiring under qualified people who are not equipped to work with elderly or trained to care for people who are elderly and possibly dealing with mental issues due to aging. As a result, abuse can begin to show and it may be time to talk with a nursing home lawyer.
- Chronic Fatigue Due to Overworking
Staff can easily get overworked, especially if they are understaffed at the facility, and when this happens it can mean that residents get neglected or abused as a result.
Why is my loved one being abused?
Dealing with the abuse of your elderly loved one is never easy and something none of us ever hope to have to go through, but as their advocate, it is up to you to ensure their safety and wellbeing. One of the first steps to avoiding abuse is to check in on them regularly, even if it has to be through video or phone calls if you’re not able to visit in person. This can help you keep an eye on things so that if something seems off you can catch it early, as well as make it clear to staff that your loved one is not abandoned and alone. This can sound more simple than it is since we all lead busy lives, but don’t forget that your loved one will need you to be aware of all that goes on in order for you to make sure they’re being treated right.
Abuse Versus Neglect in Nursing Homes
No matter the situation, your loved one does not deserve to be abused or neglected, and you may need to take matters into your own hands right away. There can be a fine line in between what is deemed abuse and what is deemed disregard of clients in nursing homes. For further information call a nursing home lawyer from Brown Kiely, LLP today for a free consultation.
Examples of Abuse
The act of physical abuse of a nursing home homeowner normally includes:
- Striking with things
- Shouting in anger
- Physical or chemical (use of medications) restraints
- Sexual assault (from rape to unwanted touching).
Examples of Neglect
Neglect is thought about the maltreatment of patients in assisted living homes and might include:
- Not changing clothes when they are wet or after an episode.
- Not supplying oral/dental care.
- Not giving residents routine baths.
- Not providing jobs or activities to locals who want to preserve their self-reliance.
- Not administering medication when needed or offering appropriate wound care.
- Not setting up toileting or helping residents when they ask.
- Not keeping residents fed or hydrated.
- Not responding to a resident’s call for help or help.
Assisted living home disregard may be more challenging to identify than abuse in some circumstances. Instances of neglect are common in U.S. nursing homes.
Level of Care and Liability
Assisted living homes need to provide a specific level of care that is reasonable and corresponds to current market requirements for citizens. This is one reason that the NHRA was developed to protect the rights of retirement home citizens. If your loved one is suffering an injury or has actually passed away as a result of an assisted living home team member not reacting to their patient in a prompt manner, the center could be held legally accountable.
Neglect in Nursing Home Liability Cases
The failure to use reasonable care at the level needed by law or existing market standards may mean neglect on the part of the assisted living home or team member. To show neglect, a number of aspects need to be satisfied in a claim or claim against the center or employee.
- The nursing home or employee had a legal responsibility to supply sensible care to the resident.
- The nursing home or worker breached that duty of care.
- The breach resulted in injury or harm to that resident (e.g., bedsores, malnutrition, infection that leads to sepsis).
- That injury led to damages and losses to the resident (e.g., medical expenses, psychological suffering, emotional distress, discomfort and suffering).
If your elderly loved one passed away as a result of nursing home neglect, you might be entitled to receive a settlement for damages and losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. An injury attorney well-informed in senior abuse law can assist direct you through the legal options offered to you during this hard time.
Facts About Emotional Elder Abuse
Not all kinds of nursing home abuse are easy to identify. In some instances, the abuse is insidious and subtle in nature. Emotional abuse in particular may be happening without any physical signs of mistreatment. However, it can still cause so much damage to the victim’s wellbeing and safety. If you suspect that your senior loved one is suffering from elder abuse, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with our law office now for advice on what to do next.
Warning Signs for Emotional Abuse of Elders
Because the senior victims of mental abuse are commonly intimidated or threatened to remain silent, it’s important for families to know the signs of potential emotional mistreatment. Signs that elder abuse may include one or more of the following:
- Resident engages in self-harming behavior
- Resident avoids eye contact with specific caregivers
- Residents has withdrawn from talking to or accepting visits from family
- Resident is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety or depression
- Resident is shyer than they were before, and other personality changes
- Resident has emotional outbursts without known cause
Emotional abuse occurs when a volunteer, other resident, caregiver, doctor, or staff member inflicts psychological harm. Frequently seen forms of elder abuse are:
- Blaming the resident for things they did not do
- Ridiculing or humiliating a resident
- Isolating a resident from socializing activities
- Ignoring the resident completely
As the relative of someone in a nursing home facility, it’s imperative that you monitor their health and take action immediately upon witnessing or suspecting abuse happening. We can intervene to ensure the safety of your relative and that the offenders are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We are not afraid to fight relentlessly for our clients, because no one deserves to be abused in the place they call home, or anywhere for that matter. Don’t hesitate to call our law firm even if you just need a few questions answered. You can trust we are on your side.
Who is most likely to inflict abuse on a senior resident?
Doctors, nurses, care staff, other residents, and visitors may be perpetrators of nursing home abuse. Anyone who has access to the senior person’s room or common areas could inflict harm. Abusive behavior can entail unintentional or intentional acts that leave the victim with trauma, injury, or death. Incidents of abuse are commonly the result of poor training, lack of staff, and burnout. However, this is no excuse for harmful behavior against senior citizens, and you must call a Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer if you think it may be happening to your relative.
What are signs that nursing home abuse is happening?
Abuse is defined as any kind of behavior that includes mental/emotional abuse, physical assault, sexual assault, or neglect. If you suspect this is happening to your loved one, it is imperative that you take action quickly with support from a reputable law firm, such as Brown Kiely, LLP. Examples of common symptoms of nursing home mistreatment are listed as follows:
- Living in unkempt conditions
- Withdrawn and not communicative
- Refusing to be helped by specific staff member or doctor
- Fall injuries
- Unexplained injuries
- Emotional outbursts
- Isolating from family
What are signs of abuse?
If there are any changes to an elderly person’s personality, mood, or behavior, then there is enough reason to consider that abuse may be happening. Abuse can be mental, physical, or financial. Caretakers, doctors, and other staff may be the culprits of mistreatment. As your Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer can explain, common signs of elderly abuse include but are not limited to:
- Unexplained injuries
- Scars, welts, or bruising on body
- Not taking medications properly
- Broken glasses
- Restraint marks on wrists or ankles
- Refusing to be alone with a certain caregiver
- Odd or self-sooth behaviors such a rocking or mumbling
- Bruising around breasts or genitals
- Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
- Anal or vaginal bleeding (not related to medical condition)
- Sudden changes in finances or use of money
- ATM withdrawals or purchases the elderly person could not have done
- Missing items or cash from room
- Sudden changes in life insurance, will, titles, power of attorney, etc.
Who is most likely to inflict abuse?
If a senior person is staying at a nursing home, then the doctors, medical staff, caregivers, or other residents may be perpetrators of the abuse. But if the elderly relative lives in someone else’s home, then it may be close friends or family members who are unable to provide the care needed. Elder abuse is more likely to occur if a caregiver has depression, perceives little rewards in caring for the elderly, cannot cope with stress of caring for another, or doesn’t have support from others.
Reporting Abuse and Neglect
If you presume your loved one is a victim of retirement home abuse or disregard as a result of their call not being reacted to in a prompt way, you can report it. You can discuss it with the nurse manager or leading administrators at the center. If you feel like your loved one meets the criteria of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a Maryland lawyer for nursing home lawsuits from Brown Kiely, LLP now.
4 Scenarios a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Assist With
A nursing home is a valuable facility for elderly individuals, and provides a safe environment with various recreational and medical services, as a Maryland nursing home lawyer knows. However, there are instances where the standard of care may fall short, leading to neglect, abuse, or other legal issues. In such situations, a nursing home lawyer can be a valuable ally in protecting the rights and well-being of the elderly residents. Let’s explore four scenarios where a nursing home lawyer can offer much-needed assistance:
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Abuse or neglect is unfortunately a frequent issue impacting nursing home residents. Abuse can manifest in various forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual, or financial exploitation. Neglect, on the other hand, occurs when residents are not provided with proper care, leading to untreated medical conditions, malnutrition, or dehydration. A nursing home lawyer can investigate these cases, gather evidence, and work to hold the facility accountable for the harm caused to the vulnerable residents. They can file lawsuits against the nursing home, its staff, or any other involved parties, seeking compensation for damages and punitive measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
Medical Malpractice and Negligence
Elderly individuals often require specialized medical care and attention due to their age-related conditions. Unfortunately, medical malpractice and negligence can occur in nursing homes, leading to severe consequences for the residents. This can include medication errors, misdiagnosis, improper wound care, or surgical mistakes. A nursing home lawyer can help the affected individuals or their families by investigating the medical practices, consulting expert witnesses, and building a strong case against the negligent medical professionals or the nursing home itself. Their goal is to help victims get the compensation that they deserve and enforce better practices within the nursing home facility.
Resident Rights Violations
As a nursing home lawyer can tell you, there are many state and federal laws that oversee how nursing homes are fun, and residents have specific legal rights. These rights include the right to dignity, privacy, freedom from restraints, and proper medical care. If a nursing home fails to uphold these rights, a lawyer with expertise in elder law can step in to advocate for the residents. They can guide families in understanding their loved one’s rights and pursue legal action against the facility for any violations. This not only helps the individual resident but can also drive positive changes in the nursing home’s policies and procedures to safeguard the rights of all residents.
Financial Exploitation and Fraud
Elderly individuals may be susceptible to financial exploitation and fraud, especially if they suffer from cognitive impairments or are socially isolated. Unscrupulous individuals, including staff members or even family members, may take advantage of the vulnerable position of nursing home residents for personal gain. A nursing home lawyer can investigate suspicious financial transactions, help recover misappropriated assets, and seek justice against those responsible. They will also be able to provide law enforcement agencies with information so that the criminal charges can be filed against liable parties.
Request Legal Assistance
A nursing home lawyer plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of elderly residents in long-term care facilities. Their expertise in nursing home regulations, elder law, and litigation can be instrumental in seeking justice and compensation for victims of abuse, neglect, medical malpractice, rights violations, and financial exploitation. Families of nursing home residents can find solace knowing that there are legal professionals dedicated to ensuring their loved ones receive the care and respect they deserve in their later years. If you are searching for legal help regarding a nursing home case, contact a skilled nursing home lawyer from Brown Kiely, LLP who is ready to offer their quality legal services for you.
Brown Kiely, LLP, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer
4915 Saint Elmo Avenue, Suite 510
Bethesda, MD 20814
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