If Your Loved One Suffered Abuse or Neglect at a Baltimore Nursing Home, Our Law Firm Can Help
Searching for a Narrowly Focused Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer? This is All We Do.
When you help your loved one settle into an Baltimore elder care facility, you expect that they will be provided with a quality nursing home experience that meets their needs. Unfortunately, preventable injuries and inadequate supervision are all too common and can lead to abuse, neglect, suffering, and even death. This is when you need the assistance of a Baltimore nursing home abuse attorney to represent your family.
If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in a Baltimore facility, call the Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm at 410-934-3988.
Our firm focuses on bringing justice to negligent nursing homes and long-term care facilities for their mistreatment of seniors. This is our law firm’s main practice area.
If your loved one has been abused or neglected at a Baltimore nursing home, call us at 410-934-3988 to set up a free consultation. We would be happy to fight for your family.
Nursing Homes in Baltimore Struggle to Provide Adequate Care
It can be challenging to understand how any nursing home—and especially one with a favorable rating—could still be responsible for abusing or neglecting your loved one. After all, Baltimore is full of relaxed and healthy opportunities for seniors who would like to be out and about, either on their own or alongside others during excursions from nursing homes. From the Ladew Topiary Gardens to Baltimore’s famous Ghost Tours, the city’s image as a prime retirement area has grown in popularity for a reason. And yet overall, Baltimore’s quality of nursing home care is substandard.
Sadly, the Baltimore area is home to some of Maryland’s worst rated nursing homes. There are 14 nursing homes within five miles of the center of Baltimore, and most have been directly cited and previously penalized for elder abuse and neglect. But even those without a red mark on their records are not immune from scrutiny. If you believe that your loved one is not being treated appropriately at a long-term care facility, reach out to a Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you. Money damages will not undo the suffering that your loved one experienced, but cutting into the profits of a nursing home is the single best way to get the facility to change its practices—so you can protect others from experiencing the same neglect.
A Lawyer’s Perspective on Recognizing Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Baltimore
Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect is the end result of caregivers who fail to care for residents at a long-term care facility. Abuse and neglect can happen for a number of reasons.
The most common factor that influences patient care is the ratio of staff to residents. Most Baltimore nursing homes are severely understaffed, so a single nurse or attendant may have to regularly care for upwards of 20 to 30 patients. Each patient requires varying levels of assistance, from simple meal provision all the way to needing assistance in order to move. In many cases, the neglect comes simply from staff being overwhelmed and unable to provide thorough care to each patient because there is just not enough time in the day. This is called nursing home negligence, and can lead to preventable injuries, like bed sores, falls, broken bones, choking and weight loss.
Sometimes, abuse is intentional. If a nurse or attendant purposefully does something to hurt a resident—such as hitting them, sexually abusing them, or withholding food or medication—this neglect is considered intentional. Whether the abuse suffered by a vulnerable resident at a long-term care facility is negligent or intended, it is still possible to hold the nursing home accountable in the eyes of Maryland law.
When a nursing home accepts your loved one as a resident, they are making a commitment to care for that person. If they are unable to adequately do so, they must inform you so that the resident can be transferred to a more suitable facility. This is why any nursing home that does not provide for all of your loved one’s needs is responsible for abuse or neglect, and violating the residents’ bill of rights. However, there are a number of especially common types of abuse that nursing homes in Baltimore regularly find themselves in trouble for.
Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Injuries that Commonly Lead to Successful Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuits
- Falls– falls are by far one of the most common types of injuries at nursing homes and long-term care facilities and can cause a number of injuries, from brain bleeds called subdural hematomas to broken bones and other unexplained injuries. Some falls are not preventable and are just accidents, but many times, a resident falls due to a lack of appropriate care. This can happen if the resident is allowed to wander without supervision, if fall risks like obstructions have not been mitigated, or if the resident is placed in a bed that allows him or her to fall out. Nursing homes should conduct a fall assessment when a resident moves in, and the resident’s activities and environment should then be amended to reduce the risk of falls. Not doing this can leave a nursing home liable.
- Bedsores– bedsores are another extremely common type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes. Bedsores, or ulcer-like lesions on the skin, develop when a particular area of the body is under pressure for long periods of time. In nursing homes, this usually occurs when residents who have mobility difficulties are left to lie in the same position for hours at a time. Areas with thinner skin like the tailbone, feet, shoulders, and elbows are particularly vulnerable, but bed sores can happen anywhere, and they are a classic sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. They indicate that staff are not assisting a resident often enough, as simply moving a patient every two hours is sufficient to prevent bedsores. If bedsores occur, they can continue to deepen until they go all the way to the bone; no one wants their family member to suffer with an ulcer-like injury that is deep enough to encounter the bone! In addition to the pain of bedsores, the resident is also vulnerable to dangerous and even deadly conditions like infection, sepsis, and MRSA because of the open wound.
- Malnutrition/dehydration– sometimes, residents with mental or physical limitations need help to get the food and water they require. If a nursing home is understaffed, caregivers tend to accidentally forget to provide meals or simply hand out the same meal to everyone, regardless of dietary needs. This can lead to malnutrition or dehydration, and the lack of individual attention also exposes patients to risks such as choking or aspiration pneumonia, where someone accidentally inhales food particles into the lungs (when food “goes down the wrong pipe) and then causes infection. It is not hard to see how choking, dehydration, and pneumonia could be extremely dangerous or deadly to vulnerable elderly patients in a nursing home.
- Physical abuse– as hard as it is for many to believe, physical abuse at the hands of nursing home staff and even other residents is much more common than many might think. Staff are often overworked and stressed, and this can lead to frustration and a lack of patience. Unfortunately, most reports of physical abuse are swept aside, as staff cite things like memory issues for not believing a resident who says they were assaulted. In addition to ensuring that the nurses themselves treat patients with kindness and respect, it is also the responsibility of the nursing home to protect residents from each other. Sometimes, certain residents are predisposed to outbursts and aggression and may take it out on other residents. This can cause injury, falls, and even a sense of constant fear and stress. Unfortunately, alongside physical abuse also comes sexual abuse, whether by staff or from other residents. Background checks can only do so much to discourage this behavior.
What Does a Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Case Look Like?
The most common reason for going after a nursing home for abuse or neglect is not to receive damages for yourself; after all, money cannot undo what your loved one suffered. However, monetary damages are the most effective way to drive change in nursing homes and protect others from experiencing the same suffering that your loved one went through. Nursing home abuse cases can be divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are intended to “compensate” a family for what happened. This is never enough to fix everything that occurred, since money cannot undo pain and suffering, but compensatory damages are a jury’s or arbitrator’s valuation of how much an injury is worth. If you are going after a nursing home in Baltimore for compensatory damages, you might make a case for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (when someone is deprived of the family benefits of having a loved one, such as affection and familial relations)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Distress, both mental and emotional
- Medical bills
- Loss of earnings
- Funeral costs (if a wrongful death has occurred)
Punitive damages are slightly different. “Punitive” damage, which means “punishing,” is intended to actively reprimand the defendant (that is, the long-term care facility). When a Baltimore nursing home goes above mere negligence to “gross negligence” or severe cases of mistreatment, abuse, and neglect, you can receive punitive damages to punish the facility. It could face high fines and even lose its license.
Nursing Homes in Baltimore
|There are 14 nursing homes within five miles of the center of Baltimore:
Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse News
The Baltimore area is bustling when it comes to news about nursing homes—and unfortunately, not in a good way. The Peak Healthcare at Caton Manor facility (listed above) was recently cited directly for abuse and neglect and is now listed in the state’s directory of Nursing Homes with a History of Serious Issues. The New York Times recently reported that many of the city’s nursing homes have been primarily profit-focused rather than care-focused, noting that “Last fall, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [Services or CMS] changed the formula for reimbursing nursing homes, making it more profitable to take in sicker patients.” This encourages nursing homes to take more people who need a greater level of care, regardless of whether they can meet that need.
Free Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Consultation
Understanding what to do next after you have seen evidence of abuse or neglect at a nursing home can be difficult. Maybe you’ve had the unfortunate reality of losing a loved one due to a nursing home injury. If you are considering whether or not you have a Maryland case, get in touch with Senior Justice Law Firm. Our Maryland nursing home neglect law firm can assess your situation in a free consultation, and because we work on contingency fees only, you will pay nothing unless we win your case. If we do win your Baltimore nursing home neglect lawsuit, we take a percentage of the gross recovery, plus costs.
Nursing home abuse is what we do. This is our sole focus. This means that we have the experience and resources to effectively, compassionately and aggressively prosecute your case. Reach out to our legal team to discuss your loved one’s injury or abuse at a Baltimore nursing home.
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