Many individuals and families must make the difficult decision to send their aging loved ones to nursing homes or assisted living facilities to aid in their care. While this is a perfectly valid decision that can often ensure your family members will get the care they need in their last stages of life, trusting nursing homes can be difficult. Maryland has requirements for mandatory reporting of abuse, provides quality reports on nursing homes, and conducts regular inspections of facilities to help ensure your experience with nursing homes will be safe and positive.
Unfortunately, people who perpetuate abuse and neglect in nursing homes are all too often able to continue caring for your loved ones. A recent article reports that a nurse who allegedly tied an elderly woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet was able to keep her nursing license. The nurse will undergo 30 hours of patient management education and the care facility involved was fined $41,605. According to reports, the nurse used a sheet to restrain a resident in a way the state nursing board described as potentially adversely affecting the health of the patient. The woman who experienced the abuse was suffering from dementia and cognitive problems when she was restrained, and there is no evidence that this was to protect the staff or others in an emergency situation.
What Are the Different Types of Elder Abuse?
To rectify issues of elder abuse, it is important to be able to identify what it could look like. According to Maryland’s Department of Aging, elder abuse can take many forms, but most fall into one of six categories. However, the Department notes that is common for aging individuals to experience more than one type of abuse at once.
The first type of abuse is physical abuse, which may most immediately come to mind. This can include physical hitting, pinching, shaking, or other unwanted and painful physical contact. Physical abuse can also include improper use of medication or, as in the case above, physical restraints. Another category of abuse is sexual abuse, including sexual contact with an older adult who is unable to consent.
Abuse can also take non-physical forms. For example, a person may financially abuse or exploit an aging individual through theft, scams, and fraud. Or a wrongdoer could engage in psychological abuse via threats, verbal assault, humiliation, and other forms of infliction of emotional pain.
Another common category is neglect, or when a caregiver fails to properly care for an elderly person. This can look like withholding or forgetting to provide for basic needs, like hygiene, food and water, shelter, or medicine. Finally, older adults who live alone or are in assisted living facilities may experience self-neglect, where they fail to meet their own needs and do not ask for help or receive it.
Do You Need a Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer?
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen can help advise you of the proper steps to take to protect your loved one and other residents. Lebowitz & Mzhen serves the areas of Prince George’s, Charles, Baltimore, and Montgomery Counties. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, contact us at 800-654-1949.