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What is the Standard for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Maryland?


When many people get older, they need the services of a nursing home to provide ongoing and specialized care. Given the reduced capacity of these residents, Maryland state law requires nursing homes to provide a high level of attention and care to their residents. If a nursing home abuses or neglects their residents, there is a possibility of governmental penalties and even a civil lawsuit.

How Does Maryland Define a Nursing Home?

The definition of a nursing home appears in Maryland Code of Health Section 19-1401. Nursing home refers to a healthcare facility that provides non-acute care on an in-resident basis. Furthermore, nursing home residents must:

  • Suffer from a terminal disease, chronic illness or similar condition;
  • Require nursing care that falls short of continuous hospitalization; and
  • Benefit from a combination of medical, nursing and rehabilitative care.

Under Section 19-1401, the term nursing home does not include facilities that provide domiciliary or personal care.

How Does Maryland Define a Deficiency?

In the context of nursing homes, the definition of a deficiency also appears in Section 19-1401. Under state law, there are two different versions of this term:

  • Deficiency — Refers to a condition, action or omission at a nursing home that represents an immediate threat to residents and could result in actual harm or injury.
  • Actual Harm Deficiency — Refers to a condition, action or omission at a nursing home that already caused physical injury, emotional injury or impairment to a resident.

There is a subtle difference between the deficiencies above. The general definition of a deficiency refers to a threat of harm. A dangerous condition at a nursing home can qualify as a deficiency even without harm or injury to a resident. On the other hand, an actual harm deficiency requires harm or injury to a resident.

What Happens if there is a Deficiency at a Nursing Home?

If there is a deficiency at a nursing home, the Department of Health may impose certain sanctions and penalties under Maryland Code of Health Section 19-1402. Specifically, the Department may:

  • Require the nursing home to execute corrective action to protect residents;
  • Dictate that the nursing home adhere to specific staffing levels;
  • Appoint a state monitor to oversee the nursing home; and
  • Impose a monetary penalty on the nursing home.

When there is a deficiency at a nursing home, Section 19-1402 requires the Department to provide a notice stating that:

  • Correction action is required to avoid monetary penalties; or
  • Monetary penalties will be imposed in accordance with Maryland Code of Health Section 19-1403.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If a nursing home abused or neglected you or a loved one in Maryland, it can be exceedingly useful to contact an accomplished personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have demonstrated experience with Maryland personal injury lawsuits, including nursing home abuse or neglect. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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