No one wants to imagine their most vulnerable loved ones subject to abuse by supposed caregivers in New Mexico nursing homes, but chilling evidence from a new case serves to remind relatives of the need for vigilance. A video revealed remarks and actions by a caregiver that authorities saw as psychological abuse. A criminal case may be forthcoming, but the outcome for the patient and the facility as a whole was unclear.
The victim was admitted as a patient to the facility after a stroke diagnosis. The patient suffered some of the common symptoms of stroke, including muscle weakness and paralysis and difficulty communicating. Emotional diagnoses included anxiety and depression. The patient was, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, allegedly belittled with verbal abuse and a “slapping-type motion” made at the victim’s face.
Cellphone video was used to document the nursing home abuse, but no comment was made on the source of the video. The official response has been to terminate the employee, open an investigation into the facility and pass the case to the city for investigation and prosecution. Neither relatives nor the potential for a civil action were mentioned in the report.
Even when swift action is taken in these cases, such as the firing of a perpetrator or fining of a facility, the victim may require further remedy to overcome the long-term effects of maltreatment. Simply remaining in the same facility where mental abuse or assault was experienced can be a cause of worsening anxiety, depression and other health conditions. However, families may face an uphill battle relocating their loved one or even obtaining sufficient therapy due to prohibitive costs. An attorney may be able to help New Mexico families obtain financial compensation in cases of documented or suspected nursing home abuse.