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A depressing rise in elder abuse incidents

Many New Mexico families have elderly loved ones who are showing signs of physical and mental health deterioration. While some are able to have them treated at home, others are unable to and instead place them in nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, residents around the country are often the victims of elder abuse, and it can take many forms.

In Rhode Island, for example, the state's Office of Healthy Aging has reported that in 2017, there were almost 1,400 confirmed incidents of elder abuse, many of which occurred in public and private nursing home facilities. This number represented a significant increase from the approximately 900 cases that were confirmed in 2012. A website that is maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has ranked nearly one-third of Rhode Island's nursing home facilities as either "below average" or, even more damning, "much below average." There are a variety of reasons why, ranging from assaults by staff members to sheer neglect.

One attorney who handles nursing home abuse cases on behalf of plaintiffs believes that one cause is the low staffing level at many facilities. This has led to patients falling as a result of not being properly monitored, a failure to diagnose or treat bed sores and other ailments, and medication errors.

There are several types of nursing home neglect and abuse. They include financial exploitation, psychological abuse and assault. In many cases, the victims are not forthright about their situations because they are ashamed, are fearful of retaliation by staff members or are unable to communicate due to health or mental conditions. Accordingly, the signs are often initially noticed by family members. People who believe that a loved one has been a victim might want to discuss their situation with an experienced attorney.

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