WALDORF NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER
When you made the decision to put your mom or dad, or grandmother or grandfather, into either a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a group home, you do so with the expectation that the very best quality of care will be provided to them. You thought they would be given proper food and medicine, the facility would provide a safe and clean environment, and that the professionals and staff would make professionalism and constant care their number one goal. As the Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyers at our firm know all too well, that isn’t what happened.
You got the phone call late at night that your loved one had been injured or worse, had died suddenly and unexpectedly. You never thought this would happen. You put the health and welfare of a loved one in the hands of another, someone you trusted, and that trust was violated.
The Maryland nursing home, assisted living facility, or group home has failed to live up to the standard of care you expected. Your loved one has suffered from abuse, neglect or medical negligence and was hurt, or worse, killed.
You are angry and confused at the home or faculty that you entrusted your loved one with. You are also blaming yourself for making the wrong decision. Don’t blame yourself! Contact the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A. and hire a skilled Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer. Our main office locations are in Waldorf, Laurel and Leornardtown.
THREE TYPES OF NURSING HOME CASES
There are three fundamental types of nursing home cases:
What Cases Will a Waldorf Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Take?
Nursing home abuse encompasses a wide range of behaviors that all have one thing in common: they all adversely affect the patient’s physical, emotional, or financial wellbeing. The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse is abuse that causes physical harm to the patient. This can include pushing, hitting, pinching, biting, burning, or cutting. It can also include medical abuse, such as sedating the patient through the unauthorized use of drugs, restraining the patient by physical means, or over- or under-medicating the patient. Because nursing home patients are already in physically weakened states, physical nursing home abuse can lead to a rapid deterioration in their health.
- Sexual abuse: Although sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse, it is often considered serious enough to warrant its own category. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact perpetrated by force, threats, or otherwise without the victim’s consent. It often occurs in nursing home settings with patients who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that impairs their ability to understand what is happening to them.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is any behavior that is intended to frighten or humiliate the victim, including scaring, teasing, ridiculing, shaming, or berating them. It often occurs in understaffed nursing homes whose employee suffer high rates of work-related stress. This type of abuse can result in the victim becoming reserved and withdrawn, which can significantly reduce their quality of life.
- Financial abuse: Financial abuse occurs when nursing home staff take advantage of a patient’s finances in a way that causes financial harm to the patient. It often involves simple theft of the patient’s money or personal items, but can also involve more complex behaviors like identity theft and securities fraud. With almost unlimited access to their patients’ persons and living quarters, it is easy for unscrupulous nursing home staff to steal.
For more specific information about behaviors that constitute nursing home abuse, please contact a Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer.
What are the Risk Factors for Abuse ?
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could intentionally harm a vulnerable elderly individual, but, unfortunately, nursing home abuse is disturbingly common. While it is difficult to pin down exact numbers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found in a recent survey that 33% of seniors in skilled nursing facilities experienced adverse or temporary harm events. It also found that 85% of skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect. These numbers could likely be higher, as it is widely suspected that most incidences of nursing home abuse go unreported.
The National Center on Elder Abuse has found that certain factors can increase a nursing home patient’s risk of becoming a victim of abuse, including:
- Low social support
- Experience of previous traumatic events
- Functional impairment or poor physical health
- Lower-income and poverty
- Non-use of social services
- Being single
- Being of younger age
- Being female
- Being African-American
If your loved one displays any of these risk factors, you should take extra care to monitor him or her for signs of nursing home abuse. If you find evidence of abuse, do not hesitate to contact our Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer for legal assistance.
How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse in Maryland
The best defense against nursing home abuse starts with prevention. Although it is impossible to monitor a family member in a nursing home 24 hours a day, you should nonetheless remain vigilant in looking out for their welfare. This starts with knowing the signs of nursing home abuse. Some of the most common include:
- Weight loss
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, or bedsores
- Changes in mood or temperament
- Unsanitary hygiene
- Unclean living conditions
- Unusual financial activity
Even if your loved one does not display any of these warning signs of nursing home abuse, that does not mean that nursing home abuse is not occurring. As healthcare professionals, nursing home abusers are often skilled in covering their tracks or supplying ostensibly valid explanations for illness or injuries. You should thus do everything in your power to prevent it from occurring. A few steps you can take to prevent nursing home abuse or minimize its chances of occurring include:
- Thoroughly researching every facility you tour and check to see if they have a history of citations
- Choosing a nursing home near to where you live and visiting often
- Monitoring the patient’s finances
- Encouraging the patient to engage in social activities at the facility
- Making sure that the patient maintains social connections with family and friends outside the facility
- Ensuring that the patient remains as physically active as possible
- Ensuring that the patient remains mentally stimulated
Contact a Waldorf Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Even the best-prepared and most vigilant families can miss nursing home abuse when it occurs. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing facility, whether the abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, or financial, you should act swiftly to put a stop to it and avoid any negative physical, emotional, or financial ramifications. For more information about nursing home negligence and abuse, please contact a Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles by using our online contact form or by calling 301-705-5006. Our three main office locations are in Waldorf, Laurel and Leonardtown.
NURSING HOME ABUSE
The federal government has defined nursing home abuse as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish” (42CFR §488-301).
Neglect differs from abuse in that abuse is a proactive, direct action intended to cause harm to a patient. Neglect, on the other hand, is the result of inaction or indifference.
Abuse happens not only at the hands of staff who intentionally harm a resident, but also because of the negligence of a facility that does not keep its resident’s safe and allows one of its residents to abuse others.
The most common form neglect in nursing homes is the failure to periodically turn a nursing home resident who is unable to turn over themselves. When that happens, the person may develop bed sores, also known as pressure sores. Bed sores are lesions caused by unrelieved pressure of soft tissues overlying a boney prominence. The pressure can partially or completely obstruct the blood flow to the soft tissue which results in the death of the soft tissue.
Neglecting a resident’s physical and emotional needs can lead to a quick downward spiral. A fall that shouldn’t happen can lead to serious injuries or death. Bed sores can develop life-threatening infections. A resident who is not getting proper nutrition may rapidly lose weight, weaken and be susceptible to infections.
Medical malpractice can occur when healthcare providers and physicians render substandard medical care. This is due, in large part, because there are few doctors and nurses in a particular nursing home to provide proper care. There are also times when doctors and nurses are required to watch over nursing home residents and simply fail to give the quality of care to the residents.
Nursing homes in Maryland are monitored by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and group homes are governed by the code of Maryland Regulations, which have strict regulations that all licensed nursing homes in the state must abide by. One of the requirements of the code is that Maryland nursing homes are to have set policies and procedures in place that will prevent abuse and neglect of residents. The failure to have these policies in place can serve as the grounds for a lawsuit against the nursing home.
If you believe that a loved one has been injured or killed due to the abuse or negligent of a Maryland nursing home, assisted living facility, or group home, contact the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A. and speak to a Waldorf nursing home negligence lawyer who can help you present a personal injury claim for your loved one. Personal injury claims provide indiviuals with the means to hold responsible parties’ accountable for abuse and neglect and may serve to prevent others from suffering the same bad treatment in the future. Call us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule your free consultation.