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Albuquerque New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Law Blog

Ask nursing home residents questions about how they're doing

Nursing home abuse and negligence are serious matters that plague many residents. When you have a loved one who is in a facility, you likely want to keep an eye on them to ensure they get the care they need. When nursing homes have to prevent visitors from coming into the building, there is more room for these vulnerable residents to suffer harm at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them.

Even if you can't be there in person to check on your loved one, you can still give them a phone call or possibly use technology for a video visit. During this communication, you can ask some very specific questions to help you find out if everything is fine.

Financial exploitation in nursing homes is a serious problem

When you make the decision to place a loved one in a New Mexico nursing home, it is likely you invested a significant amount of time into researching the right facility. This is not an easy choice, even when you feel confident in the facility and know it is best for your family member to have long-term care. It takes a tremendous amount of trust to put someone you care about in the care of another person. 

It can be devastating to learn that the nursing home you trusted with the care of your loved one failed you. Nursing home abuse comes in many different forms, and they are not always tangible. For example, your loved one may experience financial exploitation. It's easy to miss the signs of financial abuse, and it's wise to know what to look for and what to do in case there is a problem.

Nursing homes are unprepared to deal with coronavirus

New Mexico nursing homes may struggle with basic sanitation and infection control issues even without the threat of coronavirus. Nursing homes nationwide are routinely cited by the federal government for their failure to take measures to prevent infections among their residents. These nursing facilities may not do the simple daily things that keep residents safe from this possibly deadly ailment.

Some nursing homes will have difficulty keeping the spread of coronavirus in check among their residents. Many of these facilities cut back on their staffing so that they can increase their profits. Nursing homes are routinely cited by both the state and federal government for basic infection control failures, including not taking the proper steps to sanitize critical medical equipment.

Feds launch National Nursing Home Initiative to fight neglect

On March 3, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the launch of the National Nursing Home Initiative, which is designed to crack down on negligent nursing home owners and operators in New Mexico and across the nation. The department has already begun investigating around 30 nursing homes in nine states.

According to a statement released by U.S. Attorney General William S. Barr, many nursing home owners and operators put profits over the care of their patients, and this can lead to grossly substandard care, abuse and neglect. The mission of the National Nursing Home Initiative will be to help various civil and law enforcement agencies coordinate and improve their efforts as they target the nation's worst nursing homes.

Nursing home worker faces charges after abuse on video

Many people in New Mexico move their elderly or disabled loved ones to a nursing home in hopes that they will receive skilled care that keeps them safe, especially if they are experiencing memory issues. However, these relatives may also worry deeply about their loved ones' treatment in a care facility, especially if they are unable to visit on a frequent basis. Nursing home residents may be particularly vulnerable to abuse or neglect, especially as they could have difficulty speaking about their experiences due to memory issues and other serious illnesses.

In one case, a worker at a care facility is facing charges for nursing home abuse after the licensed practical nurse is said to have grabbed a 91-year-old resident aggressively, forcing her into her wheelchair and pushing her around so that she was unable to move. The man allegedly held the elderly woman by the back of the neck to force her face down, and at one point, her face struck a desk, leaving her forehead injured. The worker placed a bandage over the cut, but fellow employees were suspicious of the injury the following day. As a result, they reviewed security camera footage that captured the entire incident on tape.

Elder abuse may rise as population ages

As baby boomers age, nursing homes in New Mexico and across the United States are reaching capacity. This may mean that many nursing homes are understaffed and that managers don't have the time to properly train staff. Experts believe that this may be the reason there has been an increase in elder abuse cases in nursing homes.

One problem may be that states aren't providing enough funding to nursing homes. The state is responsible for providing funding for Medicare- and Medicaid-funded nursing homes. Almost all nursing homes in New Mexico are contracted providers with Medicare and Medicaid. Because of the increase in nursing home residents, facilities may not be receiving the necessary funding, causing staffing shortages.

New Mexico nursing homes: Issues of concern

Do you have a loved one who currently resides in one of the many New Mexico nursing homes? At any given time, there are typically more than 1 million beds registered to residents in nursing homes throughout the country. If you're worried about standard of care, especially if you can't visit your loved one as often as you'd prefer, you are definitely not alone in your concern. You have legitimate reason to worry, considering the great number of incidents that occur every year regarding nursing home abuse.

Your loved one should never be at risk for injuries that a care provider causes through substandard care. There are stringent laws, protocol regulations and accepted standards of safety that govern every nursing home worker's actions. There is never an excuse for abuse.

A depressing rise in elder abuse incidents

Many New Mexico families have elderly loved ones who are showing signs of physical and mental health deterioration. While some are able to have them treated at home, others are unable to and instead place them in nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, residents around the country are often the victims of elder abuse, and it can take many forms.

In Rhode Island, for example, the state's Office of Healthy Aging has reported that in 2017, there were almost 1,400 confirmed incidents of elder abuse, many of which occurred in public and private nursing home facilities. This number represented a significant increase from the approximately 900 cases that were confirmed in 2012. A website that is maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has ranked nearly one-third of Rhode Island's nursing home facilities as either "below average" or, even more damning, "much below average." There are a variety of reasons why, ranging from assaults by staff members to sheer neglect.

A closer look at nursing home abuse

It is not uncommon for those in New Mexico nursing homes to experience physical, financial or emotional abuse. Examples of physical abuse could include hitting, slapping or pushing a resident. Examples of emotional abuse could include failing to provide relief from bedsores or isolating a person from their friends or family. Those who are asked to perform sexual acts or give staff members money against their will are also victims of abuse.

Nursing home employees may be held liable for their negligence, and it is also possible for care facilities themselves to be held liable for failure to screen employees. Facilities can also be held liable for failing to properly supervise employees or eliminate dangerous conditions on the premises. In many cases, a nursing home will pay financial damages on behalf of the employee who committed the offense. If an individual claims that he or she is the victim of abuse, an investigation will likely be conducted by an independent agency.

Here is why you shouldn't get bed sores in a nursing home

When licensed care providers take care of you or your loved one in a New Mexico nursing home, you can expect them to offer quality care according to state laws and accepted safety and protocol standards. Perhaps, you are the adult child of an elderly parent who recently transitioned to a fully assisted living environment. You no doubt researched many facilities before choosing one that you and your family member believed was a good fit for your family's needs.

Regarding nursing home care, the topic of bed sores often arises. Those caring for your mother or father know how to help him or her avoid injuries. It is logical that you would be greatly concerned if you were to visit your loved one and notice that he or she is suffering from bed sores. Such situations warrant further investigation, to be sure. Sadly, many patients suffer injuries because of substandard care. That's why you should know how to protect your loved one's rights if a problem arises.

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