All assisted-living facilities in Maryland are licensed and regulated by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Code of Maryland Regulations outlines the duties nursing homes have, and specifically restricts activities and behaviors that could harm residents. When nursing home staff fails to adhere to these rules, your loved one could be face needless risks.
If your elderly parent or relative is currently in a nursing home and you suspect negligence or neglect, you have several options for how to report the activity to the Maryland State Authorities.
How to report nursing home neglect in Maryland
First, if you believe your loved one is not getting adequate care, you may wish to transfer him or her to another facility. Even if that is not an option for you, inform the owner, manager and/or supervisor of the nursing home that you suspect neglect, and you plan on filing a report.
Next, you can contact Adult Protective Services, a government agency designed to help adults who are unable to care for themselves. Their main office can be reached at 800-332-6347. The APS employee will ask for a variety of information, some of which you might not have. Just give the APS representative all the information you know about the facility, the suspected neglect, and who may be involved. Although APS generally helps the elderly in the “community,” not necessarily within assisted-living facilities, they may be able to provide additional information to help you, or suggest viable alternatives to help you protect your loved one.
Alternatively, you may call the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 800-91-PREVENT (800-917-7383). They may direct you to your local office and give you more information on how to file a formal complaint.
Finally, you may choose to call your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of adult care facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state, and national levels. To find the Ombudsman in your area, either call 410-767-1100 or look up the phone number of your county’s office.
If you have general questions, call the Maryland help line at 2-1-1. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to refer callers to health and human resources in their community. If you are unsure of who to contact and what to say, dial 2-1-1 and their trained specialists can point you in the right direction.
In an emergency situation, call 9-1-1 or the local police to have an officer and/or ambulance sent to the facility right away.
Taking civil action
Sometimes law enforcement or statewide agencies cannot help. There may not be enough evidence to file criminal charges against a negligent nursing home, or maybe they technically did not violate Maryland law. This does not mean you cannot file a civil claim against the facility. You trusted this facility to care for your loved one—and your trust has now been violated. By filing a civil complaint, you can help obtain justice on your relative’s behalf. You may even help the facility reform its conduct, or perhaps even close its doors for good. You can do your part to ensure no more harm is done at that location again.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit, contact the firm of Plaxen & Adler, P.A. Our team of compassionate Maryland nursing home negligence attorneys has been helping families throughout the state for more than 30 years. Please call 410.988.4449, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation in one of our Maryland offices.