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A closer look at nursing home abuse

It is not uncommon for those in New Mexico nursing homes to experience physical, financial or emotional abuse. Examples of physical abuse could include hitting, slapping or pushing a resident. Examples of emotional abuse could include failing to provide relief from bedsores or isolating a person from their friends or family. Those who are asked to perform sexual acts or give staff members money against their will are also victims of abuse.

Nursing home employees may be held liable for their negligence, and it is also possible for care facilities themselves to be held liable for failure to screen employees. Facilities can also be held liable for failing to properly supervise employees or eliminate dangerous conditions on the premises. In many cases, a nursing home will pay financial damages on behalf of the employee who committed the offense. If an individual claims that he or she is the victim of abuse, an investigation will likely be conducted by an independent agency.

The exact rights a person has while living in a long-term care facility depend on the level of government assistance it receives. If a facility participates in Medicare, a resident is legally protected by federal law from any type of abuse. If a facility doesn't participate in the program, an abuse victim may still be protected by state law.

If an elderly person is subject to any type of physical or verbal abuse, that person's family may wish to pursue a lawsuit against the facility where it occurred. A nursing home may be required to pay a victim's medical bills caused by the negligence of the facility or its staff. Punitive damages and other forms of compensation might also be awarded by a jury in a nursing home negligence case.

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