Nursing home residents may feel as though they have lost the ability to make decisions for themselves and that they have no rights when they enter a facility. This may be particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many nursing homes have limited the movement of residents and while many facilities struggle to meet resident needs. However, all Maryland nursing home residents have rights and legal protections, even during a pandemic.
Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality monitors the quality of care in the state’s health care facilities. Under Maryland law, suspected abuse of assisted living residents must be reported to the Office of Health Care Quality. Reports of abuse can be made at 877-402-8219. Maryland’s Department of Health Long Term Care Unit investigates complaints of abuse and assists with the prosecution of abusers.
Under the Code of Maryland Regulation 10.07.09.08, Maryland nursing home residents are afforded some of the following basic rights.
- The right to be free from physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and physical or chemical restraints for discipline or convenience.
- The right to be cared for “in a manner and in an environment that maintains or enhances each resident’s dignity and respect, and in full recognition of the resident’s individuality.”
- The right to participate in the plan of their care and treatment.
- The right to be fully informed in advance about care and treatment and of proposed changes in their own care or treatment.
- The right to consent to or refuse treatment.
- The right to access their records within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).
- The right to personal privacy.
- The right to send and receive mail without it being opened by anyone else.
- The right to reasonable access to private phone calls.
- The right to receive notice before having their roommate change, and if possible, to have input in choosing the roommate.
- The right to receive treatment, care, and services in a setting that promotes maintaining or enhancing the resident’s quality of life.
Nursing homes are responsible for caring for residents as well as for protecting their rights as residents. Nursing home abuse and neglect victims should report what they’ve experienced as soon as possible. In addition, even if criminal charges are not filed, abused and neglected residents may be entitled to financial compensation through a Maryland nursing home lawsuit. Residents may be the victims of physical abuse, as well as emotional abuse or financial exploitation. Signs of abuse can range from unexplained injuries to depression or fear, to missing financial assets.
Enlist a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney to Pursue a Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, other residents may be at risk. An experienced Maryland nursing home attorney can advise you on the proper steps to take to protect your loved one and others. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have over 20 years of experience helping people in the Baltimore area and throughout Maryland , Virginia, and Washington, D.C., seek the compensation they deserve. Call us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at (800) 654-1949 or contact us online.