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Silver Spring Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Even though nursing homes are meant to provide a safe and comfortable environment for elderly loved ones, many residents suffer from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, abusive behavior and negligence are often overlooked or minimized because victims cannot speak out for themselves or live in fear of retaliation should they tell others what occurred.
Are you a victim of nursing home abuse? If so, you need to take action and speak with our affiliate Maryland personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, who can open a case on your behalf.
Contact our Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for additional information and answers, or schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.What Is Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?
Neglect and abuse can happen in any Silver Spring nursing home or assisted living facility, regardless of size or location. Every nursing home staff member is responsible for the well-being of all residents under their care, and they are required to report any signs of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, not all cases in nursing homes are reported, and many injured victims suffer in silence. Victims can be left with physical and emotional injuries and, in some cases, death.Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, from physical or emotional abuse to sexual assault or financial exploitation. It can be hard to spot since the injured victims may be reluctant to speak out, but there are some signs help identify what is going on.Bedsores
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are among the most common signs of neglect in nursing homes. Bedsores (pressure sores, pressure wounds, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers) develop when a resident is left in the same position for too long, causing the skin to break down.
Pressure sores can be excruciating, lead to severe infections, and occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on bony areas like the heels, tailbone, hips, and shoulders. Bedsores can range from mild to severe; if they become infected, they can be life-threatening.
Signs of bedsores include:
- Redness or discoloration of the skin
- Tenderness in the affected area
- Blisters or open sores
- Open wounds or pus-filled lesions
- Crusting or bleeding
- Cracked or peeling skin
- Warmth in the affected area
- Drainage from the sore
Physical abuse involves violence against a Silver Spring nursing home resident. It can range from slapping or hitting to shoving or kicking. The abuse can also include restraining residents or giving them dangerous drugs that alter their mental state.
Signs of a resident being physically harmed include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or scratches
- Sprains or fractures
- Broken glasses or other personal belongings
- Discomfort when touched
- Fearful or anxious behavior around specific staff members
- Injuries that appear to have been caused by a weapon
Emotional abuse involves verbal or nonverbal behavior that causes psychological trauma. It can include yelling, name-calling, humiliating, or threatening residents. Emotional abuse can also involve isolating Silver Spring nursing home residents from friends and family or ignoring them altogether.
Signs of emotional abuse include:
- Unexplained changes in behavior, such as withdrawal or aggression
- Sudden fearfulness or anxiety
- Depression or hopelessness
- Unusual behavior, such as rocking back and forth or sucking on a thumb
Sexual abuse involves sexual contact, activity, or behavior without the victim's consent. It can include rape, fondling, or unwanted sexual comments or gestures.
Signs of sexual abuse include:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained bruises or bleeding in the genital area
- Discomfort when sitting or walking
- Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawn or aggressive behavior
Financial exploitation is when someone illegally or improperly uses a nursing home resident's money or property for personal gain. It can include anything from stealing cash to using the resident's credit card without permission.
Signs of financial exploitation include:
- Unexplained withdrawals from the resident's bank account
- Sudden changes in the resident's financial situation
- Unauthorized use of the resident's credit card
- Recent changes in the resident's will or power of attorney
The nursing staff's failure to follow protocol could lead to a fall, causing severe injuries. More than one-third of residents will suffer a fall each year. Often, these falls are due to the negligence of the nursing staff. For example, if residents are not adequately monitored or assisted when getting out of bed or walking, they may fall and suffer serious injuries.Malnutrition/Dehydration
The staff's failure to provide nutritional meals and sufficient water could lead to malnutrition and dehydration in the Silver Spring nursing home or assisted living facility.
Malnutrition and dehydration are severe problems in nursing homes. When residents do not receive proper nutrition, they can become weak and susceptible to illness. Dehydration can cause many health problems, including dizziness, confusion, and kidney failure.Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Knowing when abuse happens in a nursing home can be challenging. Often, victims are scared to report the abuse or may not even realize that they are being mistreated.
Some common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Bruises, cuts, or other marks anywhere on the resident's body
- Weight loss or dehydration
- Broken bones or fractures
- Open wounds
- Poor hygiene or soiled clothing
- Untreated medical conditions
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior
- Isolation from family and friends
- Poor hygiene
- Dirty clothing or bedding
- Bed sores
- Unexplained mood changes or withdrawal from social activities
No single factor leads abusers to mistreat or neglect nursing home patients. However, creating an abusive environment and hazardous conditions in nursing homes can harm the disabled, rehabilitating, and elderly residents.
Unfortunately, some nursing homes are overcrowded and understaffed due to the demand for nursing homes and the shortage of available beds. The need can lead to a dangerous combination of overworked staff members and neglected residents.
A study by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) found that staff members who were stressed or had a high workload were more likely to commit abuse. In addition, the NCEA found that staff members with a history of violence or substance abuse were more likely to commit abuse.
The leading causes of nursing home neglect and abuse include:
- Overworked staff members - Nursing homes with filled occupancy can create situations where the staff must work long hours and overtime to meet every resident's needs.
- Understaffed nursing homes - Short-staffed homes may not have enough employees to provide proper care for every resident. In addition, staff members may not have the time or resources to properly train new employees.
- Poorly trained staff members - Staff who are not adequately trained may not know how to perform their job duties correctly, leading to neglect and abuse.
- Lack of staffsupervision - Management is required to properly supervise the staff to ensure that they provide adequate care to patients. If management does not properly manage the staff, abuse and neglect can go unnoticed.
- Nursing home policies and procedures - Nursing homes must develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures that protect nursing home residents. Not enforcing or following these policies and procedures could lead to abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or medical malpractice injuries.
- Lack of supervision of guests and residents - Many abused victims are harmed by visitors and other residents who were not supervised by those in charge.
The consequences of nursing home abuse and neglect can be devastating. Victims may suffer from physical injuries, emotional trauma, and even death.
In addition, the cost of medical care and treatment for the victims can be costly. Families may also suffer financially as they try to pay for their loved one's care.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can also harm the community. For example, if a nursing home is not adequately maintained, it could pose a health hazard to the surrounding community.
In addition, if residents are not adequately cared for, they may need to be relocated to another facility, which can disrupt their lives.Nursing Home Residents Most at Risk of Neglect or Abuse
Silver Spring nursing home residents who are most at risk of neglect or abuse include:
- Nursing home patients with dementia or memory loss - Patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss, or other cognitive impairments are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. This increased risk is likely because these patients might be unable to communicate what is happening to them or may not be able to remember it later.
- Nursing home patients with physical disabilities - Patients who are physically disabled or cannot take care of themselves in nursing homes are also at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. They may be unable to physically defend themselves or rely on the staff for their care.
- Nursing home patients who are socially isolated - Patients who do not have many visitors or social interactions are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. They may be more likely to be ignored by the staff or may not know how to report the abuse.
- Patients with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses - In nursing homes, patients with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses are also at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. They may be more likely to be targeted by the abuser and may not be able to defend themselves.
- Patients who display aggressive behavior - Nursing home patients who exhibit aggressive behavior may be more likely to be abused. Any staff member might be afraid of them or may not know how to adequately handle their behavior.
Being aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect is vital. If you notice any changes in your loved one's behavior or appearance, it is crucial to speak up. You should also familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of the nursing home.
Are you concerned about abuse or neglect? Contact the Silver Spring assisted living facility Medical Director, nursing center administrator, and state licensing agency. You can also file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Research - When selecting a nursing home, it is essential to do your research. Make sure to visit the facility and meet with the staff. In addition, you should look up reviews of the facility online.
- Monitor - Once your family member has been admitted to the nursing home, it is crucial to monitor their car, regularly visit the facility and speak with the staff. In addition, you should look for changes in your loved one's emotional state.
Follow these steps to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Visit your loved one often
- Stay involved in their care
- Ask questions about their health and well-being
- Monitor changes in their mood or behavior
- Familiarize yourself with the nursing home's policies and procedures
- Report any concerns to the nursing home administrator or state licensing agency.
Speak with our injury attorneys if you have any questions on how to protect someone you love.What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides tips on what to do if you suspect abuse.
These tips include:
- Contact the police and report what you have seen, heard, or know.
- Contact Adult Protective Services or your state's long-term care ombudsman program.
- Get medical attention for your family member if you believe they have been injured.
- Gather evidence of abuse or neglect, such as bruises, cuts, bed sores, or soiled clothing.
- Keep a record of the events, including dates, times, and witnesses.
Do you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in a Silver Spring nursing facility? If so, it is critical to take action immediately. Contact the authorities and then our experienced Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers.
Our Spring nursing home abuse lawyers will investigate the allegations and work to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.Nursing Home Resident Rights
Nursing home neglect and abuse are serious issues that often can be overlooked in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. Victims of these crimes may be unaware of their rights or what to do if they become victims.
The federal government guarantees every resident living in a Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing facility has specific protections and rights based on law.
Nursing home residents have the right to:
- Be free from mental and physical abuse
- Be free from discrimination
- Be free from being chemically and physically restrained
- Exercise religious beliefs
- Complain about nursing home conditions
The nursing home staff must also provide each resident with:
- Adequate food and water
- A clean and safe environment
- Basic medical care
- Prompt attention to medical needs
- Social and recreational activities
Do you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home? Take action immediately.Who Is Eligible to File a Compensation Claim?
Any abused or neglected resident living in a nursing home can file a compensation claim. However, not every injured party qualifies for compensation for harm from negligence or abusive behavior. You must meet specific criteria, including:
- You must have been a resident of a nursing home when the abuse or neglect occurred
- You or your loved one must have been injured due to nursing home negligence
- The nursing home staff was aware of the abuse or neglect but failed to take action
You or your loved one can file a claim against the abuser, the nursing home, or both. Filing a claim against the abuser could result in punitive damages, which are meant to punish the abuser and deter them from future abusive behavior.
Filing a claim against the nursing home can result in compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills and non-economic damages. Possible compensation for the patient and families could include:
- Medical bills
- Emergency services
- Surgical procedures
- Doctor’s visits
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Distress, both psychological and emotional
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Families who lost a loved one through abuse or neglect in a Silver Spring nursing home could file for compensation. Qualifying family members could include:
- A spouse
- A child
- A parent
- In some Maryland cases, a grandchild, grandparent, or sibling
Filing a wrongful death claim could result in compensation for economic and non-economic damages. These damages might include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before their death
- The surviving family's pain, sorrow, mental anxiety, and grief
- Punitive damages (in some Maryland cases)
Under Maryland law, the plaintiff (injured party) must show how the defendant (responsible party) is liable for the damages. The injured resident or surviving family members must prove:
- Breach of duty - The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and violated that duty, leading to the plaintiff’s injuries or death.
- Causation - There must be a causal link between the defendant’s actions (or lack thereof) and the plaintiff’s injuries or death.
- Damages - The plaintiff must have suffered some type of loss, such as medical bills, lost wages, or suffering.
Proving these elements can be complicated, so it is essential to have an experienced Maryland nursing home abuse lawyer on your side. Our legal team will thoroughly investigate your case and work to build a successful compensation claim.The Maryland Statute of Limitations
According to Maryland law, the statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse or wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the injury or death. If you do not file your claim within this time frame, you could be barred from receiving any compensation.
There are limited exemptions to the three-year filing rule. Don’t wait to get started on your case. Allowing the Maryland statute of limitations to expire could result in losing your chance to ever file a claim at any time.
Surviving family members have three years to file a civil lawsuit citing wrongful death under Maryland law (Maryland Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-904(g) (2020)). The law also states that "[a] civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues unless another provision of the Code provides a different period within which an action shall be commenced.”Hire a Silver Spring Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Resolve a Personal Injury Claim
The Maryland nursing injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can report abuse and neglect to the proper authorities and help you protect your legal rights. Our attorneys' decades of experience in handling in resolving nursing home neglect lawsuits have held abusers and nursing homes financially accountable.
Do you suspect your loved one was victimized by nursing home negligence or abuse? Our Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers will inform the facility of any pending allegation and provide them the opportunity to respond to your claim.Free Consultation
Contact a Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyer today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. Get legal help from a nursing home abuse attorney who can assist you in settling your claim to recover financial compensation for your losses.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship. Every affiliate nursing home abuse attorney in our law offices accepts injury and neglect cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you will not pay upfront fees are paid until our lawyers obtain monetary compensation on your behalf.Resources: