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Albuquerque New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Law Blog

What should I do if I think my loved one is overmedicated?

It is not uncommon for people to wonder if something is wrong when their senior loved one starts acting differently than usual. Some family members have elderly relatives in a New Mexico nursing home, where the staff is responsible for providing them with their medication. When an elderly person is asleep for longer periods or acts disoriented or groggy, many family members worry that their relative is sick or is perhaps overmedicated.

If you suspect the staff of the nursing home that cares for your relative has changed your loved one’s health care in perhaps a detrimental way, or if you simply want to know that the staff has changed it, there are steps you can take, according to Aging Care, to find out about it.

What are some signs of abuse in a nursing home?

As a resident of New Mexico with elderly loved ones to care for, you often trust professional carers to look after and provide for them. In many cases, you may entrust them to the care of a nursing home. Unfortunately, these nursing homes may sometimes have employees who may abuse their residents. At Harvey & Foote Law Firm, we are here to help if you have reason to believe that your loved one is currently facing similar circumstances.

Signs of nursing home abuse can vary depending on the person suffering from the abuse, the person doing the abusing, and other details unique to each individual instance of abuse. However, there are some signs that many different cases may share. This can include:

  • Withdrawal or fear
  • Increased agitation or temper outbursts
  • Depression or similar symptoms
  • New or increased nervous ticks

Does your elderly mom have serious prescription drug issues?

Let us say your elderly mother is in a nursing home. She has severe knee problems, uses a wheelchair and takes Vicodin for ongoing pain and Valium for anxiety.

Lately, you notice she appears disoriented and has uncharacteristic mood swings. Is this just advancing age, or is there another problem related to the prescription medication she takes?

What are some red flags of neglect?

It is upsetting when you learn that your loved in not being properly taken care of the people you entrusted him or her with. This is an unfortunate thing that can easily happen if your loved one is in a nursing home. While New Mexico has laws to help prevent neglect, it may still happen. The only way you can protect your loved one is to be aware of the signs of neglect.

There are certain red flags that may signal your loved one is not receiving proper care in a nursing home, according to NextAvenue. Many of the neglect issues you may see are a result of understaffing and not deliberate actions. When a nursing home does not have enough people to care for its residents, it leads to jobs being left undone. Since these jobs directly relate to the care of another person, this is a serious issue.

New Mexico's nursing home condition realities

Most people in New Mexico know at least one family who has a loved one living in a nursing home. Many are in this situation themselves as more and more people in the baby boom generation move to ages where such care may be needed. Anyone who needs this type of care for a relative should be able to trust that their loved one is well treated. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.

The New Mexico legislature enacted a law some years ago that made it legal for people to put video surveillance cameras in resident rooms in nursing homes. These cameras must be purchased by the resident and the resident or their representative must receive written approval from any roommates and provide notice to the facility that the camera will be installed. All footage captured must also include a time and date of the recording. 

The emotional toll of losing someone you love

Medical professional negligence takes a variety of forms and the consequences of these mistakes vary. Sometimes, people become seriously hurt or fall ill, while others may even lose their lives. When someone passes away as a result of a doctor's error or another medical professional's poor decision, their loved ones may never be able to fully recover from the loss. Sadly, the emotional toll of losing a loved one to medical professional negligence can be absolutely devastating, and it may even derail someone's life. As a result, we believe that the families of those who have passed away in Albuquerque and across New Mexico deserve justice.

When someone finds out that a loved one has passed away because of a medical professional's error, they may be completely shocked. Next, they may find themselves depressed and unable to function in life. For example, someone who lost a spouse may have difficulty raising their kids or going to work every day. Aside from deep depression, there are other emotional challenges people face. For some people, wrongful death may also lead to a significant amount of anger. After all, it can be infuriating to know that someone's carelessness resulted in the unnecessary loss of someone you love. Others may struggle with anxiety over medical costs and their future.

What security measures should a nursing home take?

Making the decision to put your loved one in a nursing home in New Mexico is never easy. When you do have to make that decision, you want to be sure the place is well managed and will provide a safe and secure home for your loved one. One of the things you should check into is the safety measures the nursing home has in place.

According to Aging Care, safety measures include many things that help ensure resident safety. Starting with the people who work there. Nursing homes should conduct complete background checks on every staff member and ensure all staff has proper training. The nursing home should also make sure the facility is secure. It should use cameras, motion detectors and locked doors as a way to secure the building and grounds.

Staph infections in nursing homes are cause for concern

A healthy person can usually recover fairly easily from a staph infection or from MRSA, which is a strain of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

However, the staph bacteria can compromise the weaker immune system of an elderly nursing home patient, which can lead to serious health issues.

What is sundowning syndrome?

If you have an elderly loved one, you may notice many behaviors or changes in him or her with age. You may even have to put your loved one in a nursing home because he or she requires care you can no longer handle. There are also some conditions that may come with age that make life hard for your loved one and for you or his or her caregiver. One such condition is sundowning syndrome.

Sundowning syndrome, according to WebMD, is very common with Alzheimer's patients but also may occur in older adults. It brings about changes in a person's mood, behavior and physical condition when the sun goes down. While it is not known exactly what causes it, there is a belief that it is directly related to the change in light. Symptoms usually begin once the sun goes down and stop when the sun rises. Experts think there may be a link to the body's internal clock and its effects on the brain.

Why do nursing homes evict residents?

New Mexico families want the peace of mind of knowing that their loved ones who live in nursing homes have a secure residence. However, there are times when a nursing home notifies you that your relative can no longer stay there. This sudden news can be disconcerting since you now have to find a new home for your senior relative. So why do nursing homes evict their residents, and is it legal? 

Agingcare explains that there are many reasons nursing homes would discharge a resident, and while it can be distressing, many rationales for evicting a person are in fact legal. In some cases, the discharge reason may indicate good things for your relative, such as a resident’s health improving to the point where the care of a nursing home is not needed. However, nursing homes will usually discharge residents for other reasons.

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