Tips for Families Investigating Potential Maryland Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits Involving Residents Who Continue to Reside at the Target Nursing Home -- Take Advantage of the Maryland Long Term Ombudsman Program

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We have received many inquiries from families requesting investigation of potential nursing home neglect/abuse cases while their loved one or family member simultaneously continues to reside in the target nursing home.  For instance, the nursing home resident may develop bedsores (also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores) during their stay at the nursing home.  The family eventually learns of the bedsores and become frustrated as they continually find that their loved one: (1) has soiled themselves, and is dirty and not receiving adequate hygiene care; (2) has not been turned or repositioned; (3) is not receiving adequate nutrition and/or hydration; (3) is being placed in a wheelchair or a Geri-chair without being repositioned for long periods of time; and/or (4) is not receiving regular wound care or medical attention.  The family's complaints to the nursing home staff are ignored.  The resident's bedsores continue to get worse, become infected and progress to stage 3 and then stage 4.  The resident is in and out of the hospital for wound care, wound debridement and treatment of sepsis (blood infection) and osteomyelitis (bone infection), and then transferred back to the nursing home.
In these circumstances, the family's focus should be on the health and immediate well-being and safety of their loved one.  Putting aside the merits of any potential lawsuit, a family considering suing a nursing home has obviously lost complete confidence in the nursing home's ability to care for their loved one.  The family should therefore attempt to locate alternative care arrangements and have the resident transferred as soon as possible.  This may, however, be easier said than done.  It can, in practice, be extremely difficult to locate alternative care for many reasons including the level of care required, health insurance coverage issues, Medicare or Medicaid coverage issues, and/or the location of the facility. 
There are public resources available that can provide assistance to families in this regard. 
Under the Maryland Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, each county in Maryland is served by a local nursing home ombudsman.  An ombudsman is a government official  who helps people resolve problems with nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  Among other things, the Ombudsman Program can assist with the following:
1. provide up-to-date information to the public about local nursing homes;
2. provide assistance with useful advice on finding a good alternative nursing home that can meet the needs of the patient and satisfy the patient's insurance, Medicare or Medicaid eligibility; and
3. answer inquiries regarding nursing home alternatives. 
The Ombudsman program is required to keep any information provided confidential.  There is no charge for this program.
The Maryland State Ombudsman's Office can provide the contact information for the local county Ombudsman office.  The contact information for the Maryland State Ombudsman's Office and several local county offices follows:
Maryland Department of Aging
State Long Term Care Ombudsman
Patricia Bayliss--Chief Ombudsman
301 West Preston Street, Room 1007
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
(410) 767-1100
(800) 243-3425, ext. 71108 (toll free)
Baltimore City                          (410) 396-2273
Baltimore County                      (410) 887-2594
Prince George's County            (301) 265-8450
Anne Arundel County               (410) 222-4527
Howard County                        (410) 313-5980
Montgomery County                 (240) 777-3000
Harford County                        (410) 638-3025
In those circumstances where it is not feasible to move the patient, the family should take steps to ensure that the nursing home does not become aware that a potential lawsuit is being investigated so that the patient's care is not compromised.  In the appropriate circumstances, our law firm may request medical records from outside hospitals and wound care centers in order to obtain additional information regarding the patient's condition and prognosis.  Based upon the information contained in the medical records, our firm's attorneys can help further counsel the family through this difficult situation in a manner that appropriately considers the patient's safety and well-being.  Under certain circumstances, the family may also be directed to request medical records from the nursing home in order to help further facilitate the investigation. 
Ultimately, these are very difficult issues and each situation must be evaluated and handled on a case-by-case basis.  The first concern must always be the health, safety and well-being of the nursing home resident.    
Please feel free to contact the nursing home negligence lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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This page contains a single entry by David Feldstein published on November 1, 2009 9:56 AM.

Complaints to Adult Protective Services Concerning Suspected Maryland Nursing Home Abuse / Neglect was the previous entry in this blog.

Complaints Regarding Nursing Home Care in Maryland is the next entry in this blog.

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