The more than 200 nursing homes in Maryland provide beds for approximately 30,000 potential residents. Sadly, the elderly residents who occupy these nursing homes can be subjected to abuse and neglect in the facilities their families trusted to meet their needs for daily and ongoing care and support.
Nursing home abuse can take on many forms — gross negligence and physical, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse. Abuse (deliberately cruel treatment) and neglect (failure to provide necessary care) can be dangerous and life-threatening. Knowing Maryland’s nursing home abuse statistics can lead to an understanding of how and when abuse or neglect occurs, which can help put plans in place for preventing harm to elderly residents.
Types Of Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
Maryland’s Department of Aging research noted 283 reported allegations of abuse. Their 2020 study cites the following types of nursing home abuse:
- Physical — 110
- Gross neglect — 70
- Psychological — 49
- Financial — 37
- Sexual abuse allegations — 17
Nationwide, according to National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) research, abuse is reported in the following areas:
- Psychological — 33.4%
- Physical — 14.1%
- Financial — 13.8%
- Neglect — 11.6%
- Sexual — 1.9%
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, abuse often occurs at the hands of nursing home caregivers. In some cases, fellow residents or third parties (e.g., visitors, vendors, etc.) might be the source of the abuse.
Neglect in a nursing home generally means the resident is not being cared for. Forms of neglect can include, but is not limited to:
- Failure to provide adequate or any hygienic care
- Failure to supply or administer required medications
- Failure to assist residents with mobility issues
- Failure to provide necessary medical care and support
- Failure to provide adequate supervision or security
Neglect can also include failure or refusal to ensure adequate nutrition and hydration to residents. It can also mean leaving them in unclean or unchanged clothing for extended periods of time.
In Maryland, gross neglect is the second most commonly reported form of nursing home abuse. It can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, worsening health, bedsores, and more.
Physical abuse is the most frequently reported form of abuse in nursing home settings. Sometimes, but not always, there are signs of physical abuse, such as marks, scrapes, bruises, or unexplained injuries.
Physical abuse includes:
It can also include the forced feeding or unwarranted restraint of a resident. Some nursing homes are guilty of a form of physical abuse called “chemical restraints,” which is the use of drugs, such as sedatives, to control residents by making them sleep or groggy. Maryland cites physical assault as the most common form of abuse reported in its nursing homes.
Physical abuse can lead to fear, depression, and anxiety, and can cause changes to the resident’s personality and behavior, as well as unplanned weight loss.
Psychological abuse can often be the result of other forms of abuse that can leave nursing home residents fearful and intimidated. It includes threatening and disrespecting the resident.
This type of abuse can include:
Psychological abuse is the third most often reported type of nursing home abuse. It can leave residents feeling alone, and many are afraid to report this type of abuse and any other form of abuse or neglect.
Maryland’s Nursing Home Bill of Rights outlined in Md. Code, Health-General § 19-343 gives all nursing home residents the right to manage their own finances. In a nursing home, financial abuse can take the following forms:
- Theft of money
- Theft of belongings
- Theft of credit or debit cards
- Financial exploitation
Financial abuse is the fourth most commonly reported type of nursing home abuse.
Sexual abuse can include:
- Forcible rape
- Unwanted genital contact
- Being forced to disrobe
- Vulgar sexual language
This form of abuse can include forcing the resident to view any type of pornographic material. It can also include forcing the resident to participate in sexual acts for photos or videos.
Sexual abuse is the least common form of reported nursing home abuse.
Take Prompt Action At The First Sign Of Abuse Or Neglect
If you suspect or discover your elderly relative was abused in a nursing home, resulting in physical or emotional injury, consider seeking legal support sooner rather than later. In addition to ensuring the safety of your loved one, immediate action can also prevent a costly delay in your potential case for compensation.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a nursing home abuse case is almost always three years from the date of injury. In limited circumstances, when an injury is not immediately known, the statute can be extended to three years from the time the injury was discovered. However, even with this extension, the lawsuit must be filed within five years from the date of the negligence.
Call For A Free Review Of Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
Some forms of nursing home abuse are more difficult to spot than others, which can also make them more difficult to prove. If you suspect your elderly loved one, parent, or spouse was victimized, we can help. Learn more about nursing home abuse in Maryland and our law firm’s passion for helping abuse victims recover financial compensation.
Contact our case review team for a free consultation at Brown & Barron to get started today.