Nursing Home Abuse

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When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, it is with the intention that they are going to be well cared-for and have their every need seen to, medication administered appropriately, and be put back on the path to health, or maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

When the opposite occurs – abuse, neglect, and medical malpractice – it is devastating.

What’s more, some of these charges can even be criminal. This is why a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer is an incredibly important ally to have. They will be able to assemble all of the information necessary to bring your loved one’s abusers to justice and ensure your family member receives the compensation they are owed.

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Nursing Home Statistics

Maryland as a state does not rank well for nursing home care.

In fact, Maryland was ranked 25 out of 50, and regularly makes the nation’s top ten worst states for nursing homes list. Maryland has a population of approximately 5.8 million people. Within the state, there are 228 nursing homes, of which 45% are for-profit and the rest either non-profit or government-run.

With so many people entering nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, it would be reasonable to think that care and attention would be paid to this growing number. However, by 2015, 40% of nursing homes in the state had a minimum of three complaints each citing poor care, treatment, and other issues.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse comes in many forms, especially when in a nursing home. Below are some of the most common forms of abuse encountered in nursing home cases.

Abuse

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, mental pain, or anguish.” This can include anything ranging from physical to mental and even sexual abuse, and most often deals with virtual imprisonment, unreasonable or unnecessary restraints, deprivation of food and drink, medication, or other basic necessities, and even using medication on a patient that was not prescribed by a doctor. In order for a nursing home abuse case to be filed, someone must have taken direct action and intended to cause harm to the patient. This separates abuse from neglect and medical malpractice, and also makes it eligible for criminal charges, as well.

Neglect

Unlike abuse, where physical action was taken against a patient, neglect is the result of inaction or indifference. The Code of Federal Regulations defines it as “the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.” The organization or individual caretaker, or both, were negligent in overseeing the patient’s care, including not taking measures to prevent bed sores, feeding the patient, or providing them with hygienic care, such as bathing, assisting them to the bathroom, or other needs.

Medical Malpractice

In cases where medical malpractice occurred, nurses or doctors in the nursing home provided a substandard level of care to their patients. This could be in multiple forms, including neglecting to give medication on time or at all, distributing the wrong medication or administering medication without a prescription, failure to resuscitate in a timely manner, failure to diagnose or treat, and others.

The legal standard for nursing home care has to do with the reasonable caregiver standard. This asks whether the individual or organization charged acted the same way a reasonable caregiver under the same circumstances would have acted. If the answer is no, then the individual or organization did not meet the reasonable caregiver standard and has likely committed nursing home neglect.

Damages

There are two types of damages a person could receive in a nursing home abuse case. The first is called compensatory damages. These include both economic and non-economic damages, such as lost wages, lost benefits, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. The other form of damages someone could potentially receive is called punitive damages. These are very rarely awarded, and are meant as a deterrent from other companies doing the same thing. Punitive damages may be awarded in the most severe cases, where there was gross negligence, including wrongful death, and direct malice towards the individual. The decision to award punitive damages is made by a jury.

Steps to Take after Discovering Abuse

If abuse or neglect is suspected in a nursing home, the first step would be for someone to contact the nursing home’s administration. If the situation does not improve or worsens, the next step would be to call 911 and remove the family member from the nursing home. After they have been removed, report the abuse or neglect and contact a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer.

Contact a Skilled Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Knowing that the facility you entrusted your loved one to has harmed them, or even caused their untimely death, is devastating. It can be difficult to know who to turn to. A nursing home abuse lawyer skilled in litigation can absolutely help, however. They will take the burden from your shoulders and work on building the case against the nursing home while you focus on helping your loved one recover. Contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC today for your free consultation to discuss your case.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or use our intake form.

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