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New Mexico nursing homes: Issues of concern

Do you have a loved one who currently resides in one of the many New Mexico nursing homes? At any given time, there are typically more than 1 million beds registered to residents in nursing homes throughout the country. If you're worried about standard of care, especially if you can't visit your loved one as often as you'd prefer, you are definitely not alone in your concern. You have legitimate reason to worry, considering the great number of incidents that occur every year regarding nursing home abuse.

Your loved one should never be at risk for injuries that a care provider causes through substandard care. There are stringent laws, protocol regulations and accepted standards of safety that govern every nursing home worker's actions. There is never an excuse for abuse.

How to define nursing abuse?

Perhaps, your loved one doesn't like a particular nursing home staff member. Personalities may clash at times, but that doesn't necessarily mean a patient is a victim of abuse. If you were to review the results of a focus group interview conducted among certified nursing assistants some time ago, you'd learn that they typically defined the issues included on the following list as abusive:

  • No staff member should ever act in an aggressive manner toward your loved one. CNAs who participated in the focus group interview agreed that aggressiveness toward a nursing home resident is abusive.
  • While many care facilities are short-staffed and workers may put in long hours that cause fatigue, care providers should never allow personal stress to impede high-quality care. If a worker is yelling at your loved one, using profanity or speaking in threatening tones, it warrants immediate investigation.
  • No rough handling should ever take place in a nursing home. No one has a right to push, slap, aggressively tug or otherwise physically harm your family member.

In addition to these signs of abuse, numerous issues are cause for concern regarding possible neglect of your loved one as well. Such issues might include lack of proper hygiene assistance, poor nutrition or a loved one left unsupervised in a hallway or outdoors, especially if his or her medical records note that constant supervision is a requirement.

Closely observe your loved one

When you speak on the phone to your family member or visit him or her in person, it's a good idea to pay close attention to his or her demeanor and attitude, as well as physical appearance. Does your loved one seem agitated or afraid? Has he or she become despondent? While you can expect certain changes in personality with age, ailment or mental decline, such symptoms may also suggest possible nursing home abuse.

Never hesitate to reach out for support if you believe a nursing home staff member is placing your family member at risk for illness or injury.

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