Moving a relative into a New Mexico nursing home can be both a relief and a stressful situation. Relief comes because you now have the peace of mind that they are surrounded by a whole staff trained to take care of them. Stress comes due to the many horror stories of elder abuse occurring within these same nursing homes. That is why it is so important to know what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse/neglect.
Getting the facts ready
Accusing a person or organization of nursing home abuse/neglect is a very serious thing to do. In fact, many nursing homes have filed counter-lawsuits for defamation as elder abuse accusations can serious hurt their business. That is why your first step is to gather all the accurate facts regarding your suspicions. Some of the information that you’re going to need to collect before informing an attorney include:
- Statements from residents and staff
- Timeline of abuse
- Medical statements proving abuse
- Financial documents if the issue involves financial elder abuse
Filing your formal complaint
One of the roadblocks people tend to hit is deciding where they should report their facts too. Although your facts should be shared with an attorney, they are not the only ones that need to know. In this type of situation, you may file a police report with your local law enforcement agencies, but you may also contact your state’s APA agency. The Adult Protective Services agency will begin an investigation on your claims and provide any criminal activity to law enforcement. If that does not resolve your issue, you may also report the crime to your state attorney’s office.
It is important to keep your relative in the loop about what is going on. In fact, all states have what is called a Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. They will speak with your family member, letting them know about what is going on and explaining their rights to them. They will also work with the staff to ensure that failures in their daily procedures are taken care of.
Although the steps to reporting elder abuse within a nursing home are clear, it is still important to have an attorney at your side. An attorney may provide you with the necessary legal advice to avoid certain obstacles and thus present the compensation and justice their family member deserves.