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Complaint Procedures

If your loved one experiences problems with care while in the hospital, there are a number of ways to address these issues.

Handling Problems on Your Own

First, try to resolve the problem directly with the staff person responsible for the problem. If you prefer, or if you are not satisfied with the person's response, there are several other staff members with whom you can speak:

  • Nurse—Since the nurse is the individual coordinating your loved one's care and communicating with other team members, he or she is an important resource. The nurse should be told of any problems the patient is experiencing.
  • Social Worker—If you or your loved one is working with a social worker or discharge planner, he or she can be a valuable resource in solving problems. The social worker is aware of general hospital policies and procedures and can advocate with the staff on behalf of the patient.
  • Patient Representative—The patient representative serves as a liaison between the patient and the medical and administrative staff of the hospital. The patient representative is an advocate who works to resolve any patient complaints or problems.

Seeking Outside Help

If the staff within the hospital does not resolve the concern, you can pursue options that are more formal:

  • The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Health Care Quality is responsible for investigating any complaint about care received at a hospital.
  • If the hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission, you may file a complaint with this organization.
  • If your loved one did not receive appropriate care from a licensed medical professional (doctor, nurse, social worker, therapist, etc.), you may submit a complaint to the appropriate Licensing Board that oversees that individual's profession.

Suspected Abuse

If medical personnel in the hospital suspects that an older person is being abused at home, in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, they are required under law to report the matter to the local Department of Social Services.

If you suspect an older friend or relative is being abused, neglected or financially exploited, call the Adult Services unit of the local Department of Social Services to make an Adult Protective Services complaint. In Baltimore County, call 410-853-3000, extension 2.