Nursing Home Abuse in Maryland | Getting Worse, Not Better

senionMaryland’s nursing homes had an “off year” according to Jay Handcock’s blog for the Baltimore Sun.

The Government Accountability Office reports that citations in Maryland for inflicting residents with “actual harm” or putting them in “immediate jeopardy” were given to 17% of Maryland’s 234 nursing homes last year. This is more than a 100% increase from last year.

There is a bill in the Maryland House of Delegates that would require Maryland nursing homes to give people the choice of installing cameras to monitor their loved ones. What would that cost these assisted care facilities? Nothing. The patients or their families would pay for the camera themselves.

Yet I’m going out on a limb to say the bill does not pass. Why? These nursing homes have good lobbyists.  They didn’t used to as much.  Now nursing home care is the domain of these big national chains.  FutureCare.  ManorCare.  

We have been trying to change this.  There are a number of  national, state, and local organizations to fight and lobby for good care and respect for nursing home residents.  Organizations such as National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform have been battling these nursing homes. The American Association and the Maryland Association for Justice have also been trying to push back.  But it is tough. 

Nursing Home Statistics Underscore The Problem

One study estimates that 22% of Medicare beneficiaries suffered from adverse events in nursing homes.  Are some of these unavoidable?  Sure.  But the study found that 59% of these adverse events  were clearly or likely preventable with the proper care.   Inadequate resident monitoring and delays in care made up the lion’s share of this malpractice.  This leads to human suffering and death.  If that does not move you, it also causes $2.8 billion in unnecessary medical care a year.

In 2014, the federal government put out a new report titled “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries”  that broke down the kind of problems we are seeing in our nursing homes.   They are, in order:
  • 56 percent of preventable nursing home error involved the correct care for the right person but the problem was the care itself was below the standard of care
  • 37 percent of events revealed negligent monitoring of a patient’s care
  • 25 percent of avoidable adverse medical events occurred because required treatment was simply not provided
  • 14 percent of medical errors were due to mistakes in medical judgment
  • 11 percent of events were the result of inadequate care plans.
The other thing that usually does not find its way to a nursing home lawsuit that is unbelievably common is medication error. Two-thirds of medication errors were found to be preventable and I’ll bet that number is low.

Getting a Nursing Home Attorney in Maryland

Our law firm handles nursing home cases throughout Maryland.  If you need an attorney because of injuries or death caused by a negligent nursing home, skilled care facility, or hospital,  call Ron Miller  at 410-779-4600 or get a free on-line consultation to learn about what your options may be to bring a claim and what that would entail. There is no cost or obligation to you.  I may be able to help you or at least put you on the right path.

  • We have few here in Southern CA also. My husband was almost over medicated with the wrong kind of drugs as a Re-hab heart attack patient who was ony suppose to stay in the Nursing facility for 7 to 10 days. My Son and I got him relased after two days there. Scary! he is now doing quite well at home. Thank God!

  • Susan Schaab

    If this law does pass it would spread like wildfire across the country! I can imagine how shocked families (and juries) would be to see how long the resident was on the floor after a fall; the length of time between turning the resident to prevent ulcers; the lack of assistance or abuse in feedings.

    On the other hand, well-run, caring nursing homes would shine! Imagine a film showing a clean, attractive facility; happy, caring and plentiful staff members; residents living well in their final months/years.

    In my town, the best nursing home is the oldest, state run facility. The facility with the most citations (and worst reputation) is the new, for profit nursing home!

  • That makes sense that the for-profit ones would be worse because all they care about is making money, not the quality of life they are giving the elderly.


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