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Federal agency to flag nursing home abuse

New Mexico families may struggle with choosing a care facility when they are no longer able to care for elderly loved ones at home. They may worry that if they make the wrong choice, their elder relatives could face neglect, abuse and even a shortened lifespan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies is introducing an informative system that is designed to provide additional information to families researching care homes. The agency runs a website for consumers to compare nursing homes. On the listing page, CMS will place a small red icon near the names of facilities where there have been reports of exploitation, abuse or neglect.

The icon could draw attention to the potential for problems at certain facilities. When people rely on recommendations provided by the home, they may not realize that there could be serious safety problems or ongoing reports of nursing home neglect or abuse. The icon will be displayed if an incident of abuse harmed a resident at a home in the year prior. It will also remain in place if any incidents of abuse that could have harmed a resident took place in the previous two years.

CMS also said that the icons would be updated on a monthly basis along with results of regular inspections. The agency noted that the ratings would not remain in place if recent inspections showed that the nursing home had addressed its issues with abuse or neglect. Aging experts generally praised the icon as an informative tool.

People want to be able to trust that their elders are being cared for appropriately, and nursing home neglect can lead to serious consequences like painful bedsores and malnutrition. People whose relatives have been harmed by dangerous actions at a nursing home may contact a lawyer to learn more about their options.

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