Understanding Elder Abuse and Neglect in Maryland Nursing Homes

Making the decision to send your loved ones to a nursing home can often be an incredibly challenging process. Beyond finding the right place, there’s also the fear that they won’t be treated well—or worse, that they could experience abuse or neglect. During the pandemic, when many of us have been separated or unable to visit our loved ones in nursing homes because of health concerns, our worries are only amplified. Thus, when abuse and neglect of our seniors takes place, those who are responsible can be held accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent news report, a jarring case of elder abuse is raising awareness for the frequency of potential neglect taking place during the pandemic. After a local elderly woman fell in her home and broke her femur in late 2020, she was transferred to a nursing facility. Her son, who was unable to visit her for some time because of COVID-19 restrictions, said that his mother was “in deplorable condition” when he finally saw her. In the two months that she was at the facility, she was abused, lost weight, and developed a multitude of health problems. The woman’s tongue was black, she had missing teeth, and her toes were orange. Her bedding, her son recalled, was soiled and still wet. Local authorities report that the incident is an active police investigation.

To truly play a proactive role in understanding, preventing, and addressing elder abuse and neglect, knowing common signs or clues of abuse and neglect is crucial. Abuse can take various forms, including physical abuse, physical neglect, psychological abuse, or financial neglect and exploitation.

In Maryland, any health practitioner, police officer, or human services worker who suspects potential abuse or neglect of an elderly person is required to report the information to the local department of social services. If these individuals suspect abuse and are working in a hospital or a public health agency, they must immediately notify the head of the institution. These laws are in place in Maryland specifically to prevent and proactively address potential neglect, abuse, or exploitation of vulnerable seniors who may be unable to advocate for their own interests or defend themselves.

Is Elder Abuse Illegal in Maryland?

Yes, in Maryland, elder abuse is a crime—and has been explicitly codified as such in the Maryland Code. If you suspect that someone you love is experiencing elder abuse or neglect, it is crucial to call 911 immediately or report the incident to your local Adult Protective Services or the Maryland Department of Human Resources. Doing so could save an elderly’s person’s life—and put a stop to the cycle of abuse that continues to afflict our seniors in Maryland.

Do You Need a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney?

If someone you love has recently experienced elder abuse or neglect in Maryland, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today for assistance. Our lawyers have represented clients in all types of nursing home claims and will work to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. To speak to a member of our team today, contact us at 800-654-1949.

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