A Delaware jury recently convicted a certified nursing assistant of abusing an 89 year old woman at a local nursing home. The specific charges were patient abuse and mistreatment of an impaired adult, stemming from an incident where the assistant allegedly placed a trash bag over the elderly woman’s head as she sat in her wheelchair last February. The victim, who suffered from severe dementia, was not injured.
She was additionally ordered to stay away from any facility providing care for the elderly during the course of her six month probation period. Additionally, following notification of the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, the agency can further bar the woman from working in a facility that receives federal health care funds for a minimum of five years.
While this incident reportedly took place in Delaware, it could just as easily have happened in Maryland, or any other state. Nursing home abuse is far more common than we would like to believe. Sometimes, as in this case, the victim isn’t physically harmed, but the true ramifications of the abuse may never be known. Additionally, what is further troubling about this case in particular is that there is no guarantee, nor in fact any legal barrier, that will ensure that this woman is prevented from resuming as a certified nursing assistant in another nursing home once her six month probation term comes to an end.
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are governed by both state and federal law. Federal law defines such abuse as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.” In this case, we can see that the nursing assistant most likely caused the patient to experience mental anguish. Even if an individual suffers from dementia, they still experience stress or confusion when they are hurt or otherwise abused.
Maryland state law, on the other hand, has its own set of strict regulations regarding the manner by which licensed nursing homes within the state must abide. Furthermore, nursing homes are monitored by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Maryland law explicitly requires that Maryland nursing homes have a set of policies and procedures in place that will prevent abuse and neglect of its residents. The failure to have these policies in place can serve as grounds for a lawsuit against the nursing home.
If you suspect that an elderly friend or relative living in a nursing home or assisted living facility within the Maryland or the Washington D.C. areas might be suffering from neglect or abuse, contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC immediately. We will help investigate and pursue any potential claims on behalf of your loved one. Contact us today in order to schedule your complimentary and confidential initial consultation. You can reach us by calling (800) 654-1949 or contact us through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Five Deaths Allegedly Result of Nursing Home Neglect, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 18, 2013
Adult Care Home Owner Faces Numerous State Criminal Charges, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 10, 2013