New Mexico readers may be interested to learn that a Washington nursing home is being sued by the family of a disabled woman who was allegedly raped multiple times by one of the facility's employees. The crimes were captured by a hidden camera.
About 5% of the nursing homes in New Mexico and around the country now have a red icon next to their name on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. The icons are placed on Nursing Home Compare pages to let potential residents or their family members know that government investigators have discovered evidence of abuse at the facility. Icons are placed when abuse within the last year directly led to a patient's harm or neglect or abuse could have harmed a patient in each of the last two years. The icons are updated monthly and removed if a facility goes incident-free for a full year.
Residents of nursing homes in New Mexico depend on the facilities to provide adequate care and treat them with dignity. Violations of these expectations can inflict serious physical and emotional injuries both on the victims and their relatives. The law recognizes the betrayal that victims of nursing home abuse have suffered and could enable the collection of compensation for damages arising from a variety of factors. People who need to hold a nursing facility accountable must gather as much evidence as possible about what happened to improve the likelihood of gaining a settlement.
New Mexico families may struggle with choosing a care facility when they are no longer able to care for elderly loved ones at home. They may worry that if they make the wrong choice, their elder relatives could face neglect, abuse and even a shortened lifespan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies is introducing an informative system that is designed to provide additional information to families researching care homes. The agency runs a website for consumers to compare nursing homes. On the listing page, CMS will place a small red icon near the names of facilities where there have been reports of exploitation, abuse or neglect.
When residents of New Mexico and other states place their loved ones in a nursing home, they expect the facility's staff to be competent, caring and trustworthy. Sadly, that expectation is not always met.
Each year, thousands of New Mexico families make the difficult decision to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home. In doing so, they must trust that the facility has thoroughly vetted its employees, ensuring they don't have a history of abusive behavior or criminal activities. To help make this process easier, a U.S. senator is pushing to give nursing homes access to a national background checks database.
Any resident in New Mexico who has had to search for a nursing home to help provide care for their parent or another aging relative knows how difficult this process can be. Among the challenges associated with finding a facility that fits in a person's budget and that has an available room when it is needed, families must try to assess the quality of care their loved one will receive.
If you are the adult child of a parent in New Mexico who may be getting to the point of needing care beyond what you and other family members can provide, you may well have given thought to finding a nursing home or assisted living facility for your parent. This can be a very scaring proposition for many families as there are a number of residents who experience some form of neglect or abuse at the hands of those tasked with caring for them.
If you have a parent living in a nursing home, you may feel anxious about his or her well-being. It is normal to be concerned about your parents’ happiness and comfort when they are no longer independent and must rely on someone to care for them, especially when they are approaching their final days. As we at the Harvey & Foote Law Firm know, New Mexico residents should also be aware that some nursing home staff members do not have their residents’ best interests in mind.
Many New Mexico residents may be aware of the financial and physical abuse that sometimes occurs in nursing homes. However, psychological elder abuse is a serious problem that is often difficult to recognize and easy to ignore. While the signs of psychological abuse may not be as obvious as those of physical abuse, there are often severe long-term consequences. Nursing home residents, employees and family members may be able to reduce the risk of ongoing abuse when they are able to recognize common signs.