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Albuquerque New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Law Blog

Should I worry what my senior relative watches on television?

It is common for people to worry about how television affects children. However, you might not be aware that what your aged loved one watches in a New Mexico nursing home is also important. Due to the greater emotional fragility of many seniors, particularly those who suffer from dementia, television can have a greater impact on a senior’s emotional state.

It is important to note that not every senior is the same. Some may be physically impaired but their emotional state is still robust and healthy. These seniors can still watch the kinds of television shows and movies that they enjoyed while they live at home. So if your loved one fits this description, you have nothing to worry about.

Why is heat so dangerous for the elderly?

It is not uncommon to hear about heat-related deaths of elderly adults when temperatures soar in New Mexico. The heat is hard on anybody, but elderly individuals have an increased risk due to a few different factors. UC Davis explains that older adults often have health conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, that can lead to issues with circulation and affect heat dissipation within the body. These medical conditions can affect how heat affects their bodies or make them unable to tell when they are overheated.

Another related issue is certain medications they may take. Some medications can cause dehydration. Extreme heat dehydrates the body, so mix that with medication and dehydration is a serious risk. If an elderly person becomes dehydrated, it can lead to serious health complications, including death.

Can nursing home understaffing lead to abuse?

Sometimes nursing homes do not have an adequate number of staff members to properly serve their residents. This can lead to a number of problems and issues.

Although it may not seem like such an important factor, the truth is that understaffing at nursing homes plays a big role in cases of neglect. There are both direct and indirect reasons for this connection.

Is posting abusive pictures of seniors a problem?

If you have an elderly grandfather living in a nearby nursing home in New Mexico, you probably would not expect to find a picture of your grandfather online, and you certainly would not want to discover a picture of your loved one being humiliated by the staff of the nursing home. Yet in recent years, some people have found images of their senior loved ones being photographed in embarrassing situations by nursing home employees. It is a problem that is increasingly being covered in national news, and people should be aware of it.

The Washington Post reported in 2015 that staff members of nursing homes across the United States have been photographing senior residents in dehumanizing and embarrassing positions. In some of these instances, workers will take pictures of seniors while partially undressed or on the toilet. In other cases, workers may coach an elderly person to do something humiliating, like use profane language or say something obscene, and capture it on video. Since many of these seniors are mentally impaired, they often do not realize what they are doing.

What are some barriers to nursing home safety?

If you have a loved one in a New Mexico nursing home, then you likely understand the importance of nursing home safety. You want to know your loved one is not going to be exposed to safety risks. The reality is, though, nursing homes often are fraught with safety issues. There are a few reasons why maintaining a safe environment is so difficult in this situation.

According to Becker's Hospital Review, studies have found one barrier to nursing home safety is communication. This is actually a barrier is many medical environments. When providers are not communicating clearly, it hurts everyone. Communication issues can cause lapses in care, medication errors or other situations in which a patient is not getting proper care.

What causes fires in senior living communities?

In recent years, news stories across the country have described tragic instances of senior living facilities catching fire. The consequences of these fires have included the displacement of senior residents, the hospitalization of some seniors, and even deaths of senior home residents. Because many New Mexico seniors have reduced physical mobility, they cannot escape from a burning building easily, with some requiring assistance to even move at all. Experts have identified several causes of fires that are common to senior living communities.

Senior Housing News describes a lack of a sprinkler system as a major reason for fires to break out in senior living facilities. With a sprinkler system, a facility has a chance to put out small fires before they spread. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated that all long-term care facilities should have sprinkler systems installed by the year 2013, but there is a chance older buildings may still not have systems in place due to the length of time it takes to retrofit a sprinkler in existing structures.

Is nursing home abuse always physical?

Nursing homes can be very wonderful places where you can take your loved one when he or she can no longer live alone. These New Mexico facilities have trained staff and medical professionals on site who can provide the level of care that you may not be able to. However, turning the care of someone you love over to strangers is not always an easy thing, and there is always the chance for abuse. However, not all abuse in a nursing home is physical. There are other types that you need to watch for as well.

According to Nursing Home Abuse Support, neglect is actually one of the most common types of abuse. Neglect could be anything from not giving medications as directed to not giving a patient a basic level of care. Neglect harms your loved one because he or she is not being treated properly. It can lead to medical issues and health issues. Your loved one may also face being ignored. This can lead to emotional and social issues.

Federal report finds neglect, fraud in hospice care across the US

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General's office recently issued a report finding that, while patients can generally rely on hospice care to alleviate their suffering, too many hospice providers are neglecting patients and defrauding Medicare. The report compared patient records with Medicare payment data going back as far as 2005.

Hospice services, which focus on providing pain relief and emotional support to patients in the final stages of a terminal illness, are a popular Medicare benefit. As NPR notes, Medicare paid some $16.7 billion in hospice benefits in 2016 -- up almost 182 percent from a decade ago.

How New Mexico handles the rights of nursing home residents

New Mexico law provides basic rights to all nursing home residents, and the New Mexico Department of Health has the responsibility of oversight.

There are five specific areas of concern for residents, and if there are violations, the federal government may place a nursing home on a watch list and assign it special focus status.

How big of a risk is apathy?

If you have a loved one in a New Mexico nursing home, then it is important for you to understand the health risks your loved one may face. One of the more serious risks that may not always get the attention it deserved is apathy. According to Nursing Times, apathy is when a person has a lack of interest and motivation to do things. It is often associated with depression since the person may not be reactive or emotional in normal situations when a reaction or emotion would be reasonable.

Many people may assume their loved one is simply sad or upset over being in the nursing home, but if the situation is really apathy, then your loved one could be in trouble. Apathy was linked to an increased risk of death.

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