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Albuquerque New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Law Blog

How do New Mexico nursing homes rank?

When you have a friend, family member or loved one who is getting older and needs assistance to complete daily tasks and activities, you may consider moving them to a nursing home. Nursing homes help elderly and handicapped individuals who need close medical attention and care that they cannot get from a residential situation. While you may hope that your loved one is getting the attention and medical services they deserve, this is not always the case. A surprising number of nursing home resident injuries, deaths and reports of abuse occur at an alarming rate in New Mexico. How exactly to the nursing homes here measure up to nursing care facilities across the country?

According to reports filed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more than 2,217 incidents were reported and nursing homes were cited due to cases of nursing home abuse. In one case, a resident was left unattended and wandered out of the facility only to be hit and killed by a car. In another incident, residents were not given their insulin or other medications. 

Why do some seniors remain silent about financial abuse?

The financial exploitation of senior citizens is unfortunately a very real crime that many elderly people fall victim to. While some seniors are eager to seek help to get out of their situation, others do not speak up even when they know they are being abused. Even if your elderly relative is housed at a New Mexico nursing home, it is possible for your loved one to remain silent about a financial abuser for a number of reasons.

According to Aging Care, one reason seniors might not blow the whistle on a friend, a relative or a caregiver stealing their money is because they fear losing control over their finances. Many seniors want to retain as much of their independence as they can. However, they also know that they may have to give up control over their finances to a child or grandchild to put a stop to the abuse.

Common problems with retirement communities

As your parent grows older, aging in place may not be the ideal situation. You and your parent may start to look at various options for long-term elderly care. One option that may seem attractive is a retirement community. 

Some retirement communities turn out to be great, but many have serious issues. Here are some common problems you and your parent should know while you search for the right place. 

Is the nursing home chemically restraining your parent?

If you have had to place your parent in a New Mexico nursing home due to his or her failing health, you need to know about the fact that many such facilities engage in the illegal practice of chemical restraint. This practice refers to the nursing home dosing your parent with medications not prescribed for him or her by a physician, but which allow the nursing home staff to better control him or her.

Unfortunately, a recent investigation by Human Rights Watch of more than 15,000 nursing home nationwide confirms that chemical restraint has become a far too prevalent practice in many of them. If your parent suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, (s)he runs a great risk of becoming a victim. Upwards of 30% of the nursing homes investigated admitted that they routinely give these patients unprescribed antipsychotic drugs such as the following ones:

  • Haloperidol
  • Risperidone
  • Seroquel

What are signs of psychological abuse?

New Mexican residents like you trust the facilities you leave your parents or grandparents in to treat them with dignity, kindness and respect. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. There may even be some situations in which there are abusive members of staff present, so knowing how to spot signs of invisible abuse can be important.

Physical abuse often leaves marks that can be spotted with time. However, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, psychological abuse can be harder to pinpoint. Psychological abuse can come in many forms, but usually fall into categories of humiliation, intimidation, or degradation. Examples include:

  • Name-calling
  • Guilting
  • Shouting or yelling
  • Use of intimidation tactics
  • Making threats

The link between drug abuse and nursing home neglect

There are many things that could potentially constitute negligence in a nursing home in New Mexico. Slippery floors, poorly maintained equipment, medical errors and even lack of proper training could all lead to injuries for vulnerable residents. However, some of these issues may also contain the element of something more than negligent behavior.

Some of the issues that plague New Mexico assisted living centers in nursing homes are part of a larger epidemic: prescription drug abuse. Care facilities often have large quantities of these substances on hand, making them a popular target for thieves. This may lead to pain, injury or, in some extreme cases, even death for people living in nursing homes.

Help us make New Mexico safer for our elders

Putting your parents, grandparents or other relatives in a nursing home facility was probably not your first choice, but you undoubtedly put a good amount of effort and care into your search. Once you realize that extended care is the best choice for your loved one, it makes sense that you would want the best available.

Unfortunately, it probably does not come as news to you that New Mexico nursing homes do not have the best reputation. At Harvey and Foote Law Firm, we help our clients secure damages for nursing home abuse. Through our actions, we hope to make our state a better place for our elders — but we need your help.

Common causes of falls in nursing homes

The elderly have a lot of obstacles to navigate through in everyday life. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted how much more susceptible the elderly are to falls. For older adults, one out of every five falls results in a serious injury, such as a head injury or a broken bone. 

Individuals in nursing homes need extra help to ensure they do not fall while in care. The staff needs to take precautions to ensure residents are able to get around comfortably without fear of falling. That means it is critical for staff members and the family members of residents to watch out for common causes of falls. 

What do I need to know about nursing home records?

You may have a relative in a New Mexico nursing home and are not satisfied with how the home is caring for your loved one. You might even be considering legal action on the basis of mistreatment. To help reveal possible problems with your loved one’s care, asking the home for your relative’s record is a vital move. According to The Expert Institute, there are a number of things you and your attorney should be aware of concerning a nursing home record.

First, a resident’s nursing home record is almost certainly going to be long. Even residents who stay at a nursing home for a short time, usually to rehabilitate before moving back to their regular residence, can generate a record of several hundred pages. So you can imagine that a resident who has stayed at a nursing home for years will possess a very large file.

Considering your emotional loss

There are few things worse than having your trust betrayed. At Harvey and Foote Law Firm, we understand that there could be a number of conflicting and confusing emotions involved in serious injury cases involving seniors. Anger, guilt, remorse, sadness: These words do little to describe the feeling of loss that occurs when your loved ones suffer an injury while under a supposedly responsible party's care.

Especially in the case of extreme consequences from nursing home negligence, such as wrongful death, there may often be another feeling that complicates matters. You may feel disillusionment when nobody is willing to step up and take responsibility for the loss you have suffered. This is where we are able to help many of our clients.

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