Placing a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult task for many reasons, and you want to make sure that you find a home that provides quality emotional, physical, and mental support. If you live in the Baltimore area, you have dozens upon dozens of options for nursing homes that could provide care to your loved one. Picking between these long-term care facilities can be a daunting task, especially when you are aware of all of the different kinds of abuses and neglect that can take place in these homes.
There are many factors to consider when evaluating long-term care facilities, including location, price, whether the institution is a non-profit or for-profit facility, and its history with violations, fines, and license suspension. It is also important to note if the institution made significant and rapid improvements after being penalized for state regulation violations. These violations are posted by the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), a department in the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Nursing Homes in Baltimore
As with nursing homes across the state, long-term care facilities in the city of Baltimore have had significant issues with neglect and abuse. Some of the following circumstances shed light on the problem of elder abuse within the city and around the state. These stories also demonstrate the importance of performing checks on nursing homes before deciding to trust them with the health and safety of a close friend or family member.
Maryland Sues Nursing Home Corporation
In one case brought in early 2017, the state of Maryland filed a lawsuit against the corporation Neiswanger Management Services (NMS), which manages five nursing homes in the state. The business has allegedly been accepting patients on Medicaid, then evicting them when their benefits run out and they would have to switch to Medicare, which would be less profitable for the nursing home. Although this practice is illegal, NMS may have been able to do this because of the dependent and vulnerable populations with which they were working. The elderly have a hard time advocating for themselves.
In this case, the lawsuit charges that NMS discharges patients without cause or notice, but, even more shockingly, that they “often effectuates these involuntary discharges with brutal indifference to the health and safety of evictees, dumping the people it no longer wants in homeless shelters or handing them over to predatory operators of sham assisted living facilities.” In many of these cases, those evacuated end up in Maryland hospitals soon after they are evicted due to severe medical problems.
Only Four Baltimore Homes Make Country's Best List
Every year the US News and World Report evaluates nursing homes across the country in order to compile a list of the best ones. In 2016, only sixteen percent of Maryland's nursing homes were included on the list, and only 4 of those 36 homes were located in Baltimore. They were Roland Park Place, Lochearn Nursing Home, Future Care Northpoint, and Future Care Homewood. US News evaluated 15,000 nursing homes in the United States and placed 2,000 of them on the list of those with the highest standards of care.
The editor and chief content writer for the organization said that their rating service is designed to help families who are struggling to choose the best place for their loved one's residency: “Finding a nursing home that meets an individual's specific needs can be challenging for families. Our nursing home ratings are designed to help potential residents and their loved ones navigate this difficult process.”
Examples of Acute Abuse
Individual cases of nursing home abuse in Baltimore are common. For example, in early 2017, a Baltimore caretaker was charged with the rape of a patient that he was looking after. The victim was a 43-year-old woman who suffered from paralysis and therefore cannot walk. The accused, Donald Stanton, allegedly walked into the woman's room, threatened her, then sexually assaulted her. This is a clear example of how those who are most vulnerable may be most at risk for abuse because their abusers may not believe that the victim will take action or speak out.
In another recent case, occurring in 2016, one nursing home resident attacked and killed another resident. The attacker was 61 years old, and he allegedly pushed the 84-year-old, who then hit his head as he fell. The victim was taken to the hospital but died soon after from complications of a head trauma. The death was investigated as a homicide. This tragic situation shows how important supervision and conflict mediation is in nursing homes. Without these factors, injury and death are possible outcomes.
Protecting Baltimore Nursing Home Residents
If you suspect that elder abuse may be occurring at the residence of your loved one, it can be difficult to know how to take effective action. State regulating agencies do their best with limited resources to address complaints which they receive, but often there are cases that cannot be investigated or which are ruled unworthy of the time and energy it takes to fully investigate. A trial attorney who has significant experience in the field of elder abuse can advise you the best way forward in your individual case and help you uncover the truth in your loved one's situation. Elder abuse should never be ignored. Call Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian today at 800.529.6162 to get started, or contact them online.