Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not uncommon in Maryland. Elderly individuals who rely on these facilities to provide for their needs and medical care can easily be harmed through abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that a loved one has been abused or neglected in a Maryland nursing home facility, it is vital that you report the abuse to the proper authorities to ensure the protection of your loved one.
After reporting the abuse and ensuring your loved one is safe, do not hesitate to contact our Silver Spring nursing home abuse attorneys for help protecting his or her legal rights. Compensation may be available to help cover the costs of medical care and other damages that have been incurred.
Who Should Report Elder Abuse?
Certain professionals are required by law to report suspected abuse. According to Maryland law, health practitioners, police officers and human service workers who come into contact with, examine, attend or treat a vulnerable adult who has reason to believe that person was abused, neglected or exploited must report the alleged abuse. These individuals must notify the director of the nursing home facility and make a report to the local service department in writing, in person or over the phone.
Although these are the only individuals required by law to report suspected abuse, anyone who has reason to believe an elderly individual has been abused or neglected should also immediately report the abuse to the facility management and the appropriate authorities.
Where Do I Report Elder Abuse?
Often, nursing home residents who are victims of abuse or neglect are unable or afraid to communicate what they have experienced. For this reason, it is up to visitors and loved ones to identify the signs of abuse and immediately report the incident.
Those who report suspected abuse or neglect are protected by law. Section 14-309 of the Family Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland states that anyone who in good faith makes or contributes to making a report of abuse or participates in an investigation or judicial proceeding is protected from civil liability.
If the individual is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 to get the person immediate medical care. If the situation is not an emergency, you should speak with the facility management to address the issue and seek changes to your loved one’s care.
You should also notify one of the following organizations about suspected abuse:
- Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman – Long-term care ombudsmen serve as advocates for residents of nursing homes, working to resolve problems involving residents and quality of care issues. Contact your local ombudsman.
- Maryland Office of the Attorney General – The Medicaid Fraud Control Division of the Office of the Attorney General prosecutes cases of nursing home abuse. Call 410-576-6521.
- Maryland Adult Protective Services – This program of the Maryland Department of Human Services works to prevent and remedy abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly adults who are not able to protect their own interests and are at risk of immediate harm. Call 1-800-332-6347 or contact your local DHS office.
- Maryland Office of Health Care Quality – This agency licenses, certifies and monitors health care facilities throughout the state. The Long-Term Care Unit investigates complaints of resident abuse and assists with the criminal prosecution of those who have abused vulnerable adults. Call 410-402-8201.
What to Include in a Report of Elder Abuse
When reporting abuse, it is important that you include as many details as possible. You should try to include:
- The name, age, home address and current location of the elderly individual
- The current condition of the individual’s incapacity
- The name and address of the person responsible for the alleged abuse or neglect
- Details about the alleged abuse or neglect
- The cause of the abuse or neglect
- The identity of the responsible person
The more details you include, the better the authorities can investigate and potentially prosecute those who are responsible for causing harm to your loved one.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
After reporting any signs of suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities, you should also contact a trusted nursing home abuse attorney who can advise you of your legal options and help protect your loved one’s legal rights. Our Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to fighting for the rights of the injured and will help ensure your loved one receives the justice and compensation he or she deserves.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more. We work on a contingency fee basis and will not charge legal fees unless we obtain compensation for you. Call (888) 213-8140 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.