Maryland’s Department of Aging has an Ombudsman Program designed to advocate for the residents of long-term care facilities. You can start the process of reporting a nursing home to the state with this office. The state is serious about protecting the rights of its older citizens and will assist you in fighting for their rights.
You can also file a complaint online or in writing with the state’s Office of Health Care Quality. Once your complaint is filed, the state will begin its investigation. Although you might be contacted about your allegations, the state’s representative will not share information about an ongoing investigation. Complaints considered invalid will be dismissed. Complaints that appear to have merit will be forwarded to the appropriate investigating body.
Know What To Include In Your Report To The State
When you report a nursing home for abuse or neglect, be prepared to answer a plethora of questions and collect evidence that supports your allegations. The reporting agency may ask you for the following:
- The name and location of the nursing home in question
- The name, age, and your relationship to the resident
- Information on the nursing home’s staff members
- Signs and symptoms of abuse that led to your report
- Any other helpful details specific to your complaint
- The type(s) of abuse or neglect inflicted on your loved one
Learning that someone you love was mistreated in a place you trusted to care for them can be stressful and frustrating. It might be difficult to provide details on what happened to your loved one. Doing so, though, can help substantiate your case and give any investigation launched by the state a starting point.
Actions The State May Take In Response To Your Complaint
The state and its agencies take concerns about neglectful or abusive nursing homes seriously. Complaints against nursing homes are handled quickly and typically receive an immediate review. The facility will be notified of the complaint and subsequent review in writing. The following actions will occur next:
- A complaint deemed insufficient will be dismissed. At this point, your case will be considered closed.
- A complaint considered to have merit will be passed on to the appropriate state agency and further investigated. The nursing home will receive a second notification of complaint from this agency.
The state’s investigation will include information-gathering, fact-finding, documentation, and interviews. A final report following the investigation will be prepared and submitted to the investigating agency.
Actions The State Will Take In Response To A Proven Allegation
The state will follow up on all cases that were given merit by conducting their own investigation. At the conclusion of their investigation, the state will respond to the nursing home on a formal or informal basis. Informal action can include:
- Letters of agreement requiring corrective measures
- Letter of education and admonishment
These informal notifications are confidential. In some cases, charges will be filed against the nursing home’s administrator. They may be required to attend a specialized conference to resolve the issues in your complaint.
In addition to a reprimand, formal action the state takes can include:
- License suspension
- Fine assessment
- A formal hearing
If a hearing is scheduled, it can involve formal subpoenas and witness testimony. If your allegations are substantiated, one or more disciplinary measures will be administered. These measures may result in public notification.
Reasons For Filing A Report Against A Nursing Home
Nursing home abuse and neglect that leads to complaints can occur in many different ways. According to National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) research, the most commonly reported mistreatment in nursing homes includes:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Gross neglect
According to Md Code, Health-General § 19-343 (Maryland’s Nursing Home Bill of Rights), your loved one is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. Do not hesitate to file a report on behalf of an elderly parent or spouse whose rights were violated or who suffered any of these types of abuse or neglect.
Do Not Stop Advocating For Your Loved One
If you believe your complaint was valid, but it was dismissed by the state, a local law firm can help you advocate for your loved one. In addition to reporting a negligent nursing home to the state, you can also file an insurance claim or lawsuit with the guidance and direction of a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area.
Get Help Resolving Your Nursing Home Complaint
Was your elderly loved one abused or neglected in their nursing home? If you are ready to hold the facility responsible for its negligence, our law firm will help you report a nursing home to the state. We will also help you build a strong case for financial compensation.
Find out how hard we fight for you and your loved one by calling today for a free consultation with our review team at Brown & Barron.