Nursing Home Negligence

Protecting Victims of Nursing Home Neglect

There are more than 1.2 million Americans living in nursing homes today – and as the earliest members of the baby boom generation near their 70s, that number will continue to grow. At the same time, almost 90 percent of nursing homes are inadequately staffed. That is just one reason for the increase in complaints of nursing home neglect in the past decade.

When we place a parent, grandparent or other loved relative in the care of a nursing home, we trust that the administration and staff will take care of their physical and emotional needs. When they betray that trust and our family member suffers injury or harm because of negligence, they must be held accountable.

As nursing home negligence lawyers in Hanover, MD, the attorneys at Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP provide compassionate, effective and vigorous representation across a range of nursing home neglect and abuse matters. We have helped hundreds of clients in Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County and throughout the region.

Dehydration and Malnutrition

As we get older, we not only have less water in our bodies, we feel less thirsty. That does not mean that we don't require water. When nursing home staff does not monitor fluid intake and ensure that patients are getting adequate liquids – six to eight cups a day – dangerous dehydration can result. Among other things, severe lack of fluids can lead to organ failure and coma. Similarly, our appetites often decrease as we age. Certain medications, illness and depression can also cause patients to eat less. It is the staff's responsibility to keep track of food intake and be aware of the warning signs of malnutrition.

Falls Leading to Fractures and Broken Bones

For most of the elderly, particularly women, bones lose density and become brittle. This leads to a greater likelihood that a fall – any fall – can cause a fracture or broken bone. A break takes much longer to heal in seniors than it does in younger people. As a result, not only are the elderly likely to face long-term or even permanent mobility issues, fractures that take a long time to heal can lead to further complications, including life-threatening infections. It is up to the staff to be vigilant in watching out for patients as they bathe, toilet and try to stand.

Bed Sores, Pressure Sores and Decubiti

Bed sores or pressure sores are medically known as decubiti. They are not merely uncomfortable and unsightly – they are an ulceration of the skin that is prone to infection that can go deep into the tissue and even into the bone. Caused by unrelieved pressure on an area – often found on bony protrusions such as hips or heels – they are preventable when good practices are applied by nursing home staff. Bedridden or elderly patients who cannot move on their own should have their positions changed every few hours. Their skin should be kept clean and dry, and bed linens should be clean and as free of wrinkles as possible.

When staff neglect to perform these and several other simple procedures, patients can suffer severe injury.

Wandering and Elopement

Patients – particularly those with dementia or Alzheimer's – need to be monitored around the clock to ensure that they are kept safe. When allowed to wander freely through the nursing home, they can become disoriented and injure themselves. If a memory care patient leaves (or elopes from) the nursing home, the danger multiplies.

Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, any of these acts of neglect can quickly turn to tragedy as the frail elderly may not be able to describe or relate their discomfort or pain. It is the nursing home's responsibility to understand their ethical and medical duty of care to this vulnerable population. We are here to help families as wrongful death attorneys in cases of fatal neglect.

Contact our nursing home negligence attorneys in Hanover serving Annapolis, MD and clients throughout the metro area

If a family member has been injured as a result of nursing home negligence, Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP can help you get them compensation for the harm they have suffered. We have provided answers to some Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Negligence that may be of help to you. We encourage you to read them – then contact us online or call us at (443) 749-5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day.