Baltimore Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is chronically underreported. It’s challenging to identify and many times it’s not recognized by those who have the power to report it. The attorneys at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy have seen many devastating examples of nursing home neglect and abuse and are committed to representing families and individuals involved in such cases.
Challenges in Recognizing Abuse
Elderly patients of nursing homes don’t always receive regular visits from family and friends. When visits do occur, they may not come often enough to notice subtle changes in behavior or circumstances that could be signs of abuse. Many times, the elderly person won’t report the abuse or neglect because they fear retaliation from their abuser. Some patients have cognitive difficulties that render them unable to communicate details of the abuse to anyone. Often times, if they do tell someone, they aren’t believed.
Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Although it can be difficult to spot, common signs of abuse or neglect can include:
- Changes in behavior. The victim may become quiet when caregivers are present, withdrawal emotionally from family and friends, isolate themselves in their room, and seem angry or sad more often.
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores). These painful sores can develop as the result of neglect. Patients who are left in bed or in the same position in a wheelchair for too long, frequently develop pressure ulcers.
- Bruising or grab marks on wrists. Wrists and arms are common places to see bruising if caretakers are too rough or are restraining the patient.
- Bleeding from skin tears or other wounds. Elderly skin is very fragile and tears easily when handled roughly.
- Frequent falling or broken bones. This can be a sign that the person is being left alone too long and is trying to help themselves in ways that aren’t safe. If their walker or wheelchair is left too far away, they may be falling when they try to get to it. Not receiving prompt assistance to use the bathroom can also result in falls when the patient attempts to get to use the bathroom alone.
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI). Urinary tract infections can occur in men and women if incontinence care is inadequate.
- Unexplained physical discomfort. The patient may be exhibiting signs of pain that they don’t want to talk about.
- Weight loss. Weight loss can come from not being fed properly. Seniors in care may be given the wrong food or not enough food, or not receiving the help they need to eat the food. Weight loss can also be a sign of depression.
- Crying or signs of depression. It’s easy to write off crying and signs of depression as the result of being in a nursing home. However, a good facility will attend to the needs of their patients and help them feel better. If your loved one is chronically sad when you come to visit, it may be a sign that they aren’t receiving adequate treatment for their depression. It can also be from the fear and vulnerability they are experiencing because of abuse.
It’s best to report abuse to an outside agency who can come in and objectively investigate the allegation. The state of Maryland uses an Ombudsman system to handle reports of suspected abuse in nursing homes. The number to call in Baltimore county is: 410-887-4200. There is a statewide listing of numbers to call on their website.
Reporting abuse and supporting the victim is stressful and complicated. The elder may need to be moved to a new facility. The facility that allowed the abuse to occur may attempt to hide evidence of the abuse. It’s important to move quickly. As soon as you have reported the suspected abuse and made sure that your loved one is safe, you need to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to protect their rights. The attorneys at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy are aggressive, experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. When results matter, we’re who you call. Call today.