Maryland residents today are living longer, healthier and more productive lives than ever before. In fact, recent studies show that the average life expectancy of Maryland residents is 79 years. What is important to understand is that there is also a noticeable increase in age related illnesses. Some of these can be Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, lung disease, other internal organ failure and complications due to a stroke. When caring for a loved one becomes too cumbersome for family members it is not uncommon to contemplate a nursing home as an alternative. While nursing homes normally provide a safe and secure place for our loved ones to reside they can also care for our loved ones in a negligent manner. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, neglected or they have suffered an injury in a Maryland nursing home, assisted living home or rehabilitative treatment center you should consult with our injury lawyers serving the entire state of Maryland.
If a loved one has been injured while in a nursing home anywhere in Maryland please contact our experienced nursing home negligence attorneys. We serve those injured in assisted living homes in all areas of Maryland including Annapolis, Baltimore, Bel Air, Bethesda, Ocean City, Columbia, Elkton, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Germantown and Rockville.
Common Reasons For Living In A Nursing Home
According to recent studies some type of disability with activities of daily living (ADLs) is the most common reason that older people live in nursing homes. Not surprisingly, people living in nursing homes generally have more disability than people living at home. About 25% of nursing-home residents need help with one or two activities of daily living (for example, walking and bathing), and 75% need help with three or more. More than half of residents have incontinence (either bowel or bladder), and more than a third have difficulty with hearing or seeing.
In addition to physical ailments, mental conditions are common in nursing home residents. In fact, dementia remains the most common problem, and affects an estimated 50-70% of residents. More than three fourths of nursing-home residents have problems making daily decisions, and two thirds have problems with memory or knowing where they are from time to time.
At least one-third of nursing home residents with dementia also have problematic behaviors. These behaviors may include verbal and physical abuse, acting inappropriately in public, resisting necessary care, and wandering. Communication problems are also common—almost half of nursing home residents have difficulty both being understood and understanding others. Depression is another condition that affects nursing home residents. Research has shown it may occur more in nursing home residents than in individuals living in the community.
What To Look For When Choosing A Nursing Home
Knowing what to look for when choosing a nursing home is perhaps the best way to prevent abuse, injury or neglect Choosing a nursing home may be one of the most important life decisions you may have to make for yourself, family member or friend. Often the decision will need to be made during a crisis or immediately after a serious illness or injury. Learning as much as you can about a facility is important to the health and well being of the potential resident.
Aid Your Search
What can you do to aid you in your search? First, speak with people you can trust and who may be able to provide valuable information about a particular facility as well as the needs of the potential resident. Such people include family, friends, health professionals, social workers, and hospital discharge planners. If you are helping someone find a nursing home, be sure to get him or her involved in the process, when possible. If the person is unable or unwilling to become involved, keep his or her preferences and values in mind when making your selection. Planning ahead will make the job of finding the right nursing home for you or your loved ones much less stressful.
Begin gathering basic information about the nursing homes you are considering. Keep in mind that location is important. Choosing a facility located close to family and friends will allow more time for visiting. Determine whether a bed is available or if there is a waiting list. Check on the ratio of staff to residents. If Medicare or Medicaid will be a consideration, be sure the facility will accept Medicare or Medicaid payment.
Visit Multiple Facilities
After obtaining the information you need, the next and most important step is to visit one or more facilities. This will give you the opportunity to go on a formal tour, and talk with nursing home staff and residents. After choosing a facility, visit again at different times of the day and on different days of the week to see a complete picture of the services and activities offered to residents. Take special note of how staff interacts with residents and the quality of life of the residents. Are the residents receiving services and care that will allow them to achieve the highest practicable level of physical, social, and mental well being?
Before Making a Final Decision
Before making a final decision, be sure to obtain a copy of the nursing home contract to take home with you to review. Ask the nursing facility about parts of the contract which are not clear to you. If you still have questions, you may want to consider having an attorney review the contract prior to signing. Be sure the contract is fully completed at the time you sign it. Obtain a full, and exact copy of the original document after both you and the facility have signed.
A Check List for Facility Visits
Use the following brief checklist to help you compare and evaluate the nursing homes that you visit. You may want to take a copy of the checklist with you to each facility you visit.
- Facility Name
- Facility Address
- Date of Visit
Items Checklist – Mark yes or no
- Medicare certified.
- Medicaid certified.
- The nursing home is licensed.
- Current Administration is licensed.
- The nursing home conducts criminal background checks on all staff.
- The nursing home has policies to safeguard resident possessions.
- The State survey is available at the nursing home.
- The last two surveys show no deficiencies.
- Interaction between staff and residents is warm and respectful.
- The nursing home smells and looks clean.
- Nursing home staff respond promptly to call bells.
- Activities listed on the nursing home’s activity schedule actually occur.
- The nursing home posts a weekly menu which includes alternate choices.
- Current residents are satisfied with their meals. (Ask several residents at random.)
- Corridors are free from obstructions.
- Staff knocks on residents’ doors and asks permission to enter.
- Residents have freshly filled water pitchers/cups within their reach.
- Residents are well groomed and dressed appropriately.
- Care plan meetings are held at times that are easy for family to members to attend.
- The nursing home has flexible visiting hours.
- The nursing home has an outdoor area for residents to use.
- The dining room environment is pleasant.
- Nursing home staff is adequate.
- There are handrails in the hallways and grab bars in the bathrooms.
- Resident rooms are comfortable, well lighted, and afford some degree of privacy.
Employing this list may prove to be incredibly helpful when deciding where to place your loved ones.
Nursing Home Injuries And Accidents
Injuries in nursing homes can be caused by various actions or circumstances. These can range from the nursing home being understaffed, the staff being inadequately trained, improper monitoring and gross negligence. Injuries can be:
Elopement (Wandering off)
Improper patient monitoring
Liability In Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Establishing liability is one of the most important aspects of a nursing home negligence claim. A qualified nursing home abuse attorney will know how to identify any and all liable parties. These parties can be nursing home corporations, parent companies, third party staffing companies, third party contractors, subcontractors and vendors (third party claims are also commonly referred to as vicarious liability claims). It is imperative to the outcome your case that all liable parties be held legally responsible for the injuries sustained by your loved ones in their accident.
Insurance Issues In Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Claims
As with almost every other type of accident where someone else is at fault, the insurance companies get involved relatively quickly. Dealing with the insurance carriers can cause the victims family and estate an extraordinary amount of aggravation, emotional, financial and psychological strain. To be blunt the insurance industry is big business and their objective is to make money, not lose money. Paying accident and injury claims is considered losing money. The average person has no idea how to navigate through the legal system and or deal with insurance companies whose primary interest is their profits.
Having said that it is never a good idea to deal with the insurance carriers yourself. Doing so can jeopardize your case as well as cost you substantial amounts of money as they will not take all factors that determine the true value of your claim into consideration. Let our Annapolis nursing home injury attorneys handle the insurance companies. this will allow you to focus on getting your loved one the care they deserve and need.
Resolving Your Maryland Assisted Living Claim
Assisted living home, nursing home, rehabilitative and treatment center accident, injury and wrongful death claims typically end in a settlement. The settlement is negotiated by your attorney and the liable parties insurance company and or their attorneys. In some cases a settlement cannot be agreed upon. A common concern in this scenario is what will happen next and how will the case culminate? In situations such as these the case moves on to the litigation phase, also known as the trial phase. When a case goes to trial you absolutely need an experienced personal injury attorney who has significant trial experience. Our team of Baltimore nursing home lawyers have a wealth of experience litigating assisted living home accident, nursing home neglect and treatment center abuse claims throughout Maryland.
Contact Our Maryland Nursing Home Injury Lawyers
It may take years to recover from the financial strain and emotional stress caused by your loved one being injured. Let our Maryland nursing home injury lawyers handle all administrative aspects of your claim. This will allow you to focus on moving on. Contact them today for a free consultation.