negligent care of nursing home residents can have serious financial and legal repercussions.
The recent death of an 80-year-old patient who wandered away from a picnic
outing sponsored by his nursing home has raised concerns about elder abuse
in the state.
Lubin Phipps was a resident of Woodmore House Assisted Living and required
constant supervision due to a diagnosis of dementia. On September 18,
the residents of the nursing home were taken on an outing to a park, and,
despite his need for round-the-clock care, Mr. Phipps was left alone by
an operations manager. He was missing for almost a month when his body
was finally discovered on October 11.
An investigation by the Office of Healthcare Quality, (OHCQ) revealed that
although the center’s employees called 911 after discovering that
Mr. Phipps was missing, they failed to report his disappearance to the
OHCQ immediately, and instead waited for three days.
Nursing home negligence is regulated under the
Nursing Home Reform Act. This federal law sets minimum standards for all nursing homes that accept
Medicare and Medicaid. Standards include:
• Individualized evaluations of each patient;
• Sufficient nutrition and hydration;
• Pharmaceutical services;
• Sufficient staffing;
• Nursing and specialized rehabilitative services;
• Routine and emergency dental service;
• Treatment for mental illness; and
• Medically related social services.
Violation of federal regulations can lead to civil penalties, fines, and
a government suspension of Medicare and Medicaid certifications.
Maryland law also prohibits the neglect of nursing home residents. The
Office of Healthcare Quality, which is a subdivision of the Department
of Mental Health and Hygiene, defines
neglect as the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical
harm, mental anguish, or mental illness. The OHCQ regulates nursing homes
to prevent instances of this type of neglect or abuse. Agency regulations
Residents’ Bill of Rights, which provides additional protections to nursing home residents.
Residents’ Bill of Rights
Under Maryland law, comprehensive care and extended care facilities must
ensure that residents have the following rights:
• The right to be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition
of human dignity and individuality;
• The right to receive treatment, care, and services that are adequate,
appropriate, and in compliance with relevant state and federal laws, rules,
• The right to privacy;
• The right to be free from mental and physical abuse;
• The right to expect and receive appropriate assessment, management,
and treatment of pain as an integral component of the patient’s care;
• The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints, except
for restraints that a physician authorizes for a clearly indicated medical need;
• The right to receive respect and privacy in a medical care program; and
• The right to manage personal financial affairs.
Furthermore, a copy of the “Resident’s Bill of Rights”
must be presented to:
• The resident, upon admission;
• The guardian, next of kin, or sponsoring agent of the resident; and
• A representative payee of the resident.
Each incoming resident must sign a copy of the regulations, and each facility
must post a copy in a public place.
Violations can result in heavy fines as well as the forfeiture of the establishment’s
license as a nursing home facility.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If a loved one has been injured as a result of nursing home negligence,
an experienced personal injury attorney can help explain your legal rights.
Please contact the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro to schedule a free consultation.