Did you know that an estimated five million older adults suffer abuse every year? The estimates are likely far lower than the actual numbers, with recent reports showing that roughly 64% of nursing home staff members admit to abusing residents.
Even worse is the fact that as much as 90% of elder abuse goes unreported, meaning that countless older adults never receive the help they need.
If you believe an older adult has been abused or neglected in a New Mexico nursing home, a Farmington nursing home abuse lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm is available to meet and discuss your case. A free consultation with a member of our legal team is the first step to protecting the rights of your loved one.
Why Choose Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm To Protect Your Elderly Loved One?
Learning that a beloved family member has been the victim of abuse or neglect is one of the hardest things a relative can experience. Whether your parent, grandparent, or other close elder in your life was victimized, you need to know that their future is in capable and caring hands.
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm’s Farmington nursing home abuse attorneys are confident in our abilities to protect those most vulnerable in our society. We continually develop our expertise to give your case the best possible outcome. We have:
- Experience protecting the rights of those harmed by negligence since 1999
- Highly proficient attorneys with numerous awards in personal injury law
- A fully bilingual law firm capable of assisting you in Spanish or English
- Knowledge of local court systems and New Mexico laws that apply to your case
- Expert negotiation skills
- Understanding of insurance company tactics and how to protect clients
- Partnerships with top medical professionals who can provide testimony to support your claim
What Type of Nursing Home Abuse Is Common in New Mexico?
Nursing home abuse can fall under one of four main categories: physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse.
When a nursing home resident sustains bodily harm at the hands of an abuser, it is known as physical abuse. This may involve:
- Kicking, hitting, pushing, slapping, or punching
- Choking or suffocating
- The use of physical restraints
- Unnecessarily using medication to subdue a patient
Psychological or Verbal Abuse
Verbal, psychological, or emotional abuse doesn’t involve direct physical harm, but it can have an adverse effect on a patient’s overall health and wellbeing. Studies show that elder victims of verbal abuse are more depressed, suffer declining physical health, and often lose the will to live. This broad category of non-physical abuse includes:
- Belittling and demeaning language
- Withholding affection
Any unwanted and non-consensual physical touching can be categorized as sexual abuse. Many victims of nursing home sexual abuse are unable to report the abuse because of cognitive disability, dementia, or because they are in a comatose state. Any signs of sexual abuse, such as bruised genitals or torn undergarments, should be reported immediately to authorities.
Financial abuse or exploitation is the use of an elder’s funds or assets without their permission. Examples of financial exploitation are:
- Forging a name on checks
- Tricking a senior into changing a will or signing over deeds
- Using a credit card without the owner’s permission
- Stealing valuable items
- Scams that deceive elders into giving over funds
- Taking cash to purchase items that aren’t actually purchased
What Is the Difference Between Elder Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect are two different wrongful acts, although the terms are often used interchangeably.
Nursing Home Abuse
When a staff member acts with intent to harm, it is considered abuse. The common types of abuse listed above are examples of deliberate behaviors with known detrimental outcomes to the victim. The reasons for perpetrating abuse are varied—stress from being overworked, job dissatisfaction, anger management problems, a history of being abused, and greed are only a few. But there is never, under any circumstances, an excuse or justifiable reason for elder abuse.
Nursing Home Neglect
While abuse is a deliberate act with intent to harm, neglect is a failure to meet the needs of elderly residents. Neglect means depriving an individual of basic necessities such as:
- Proper nutrition
- Comfortable living temperatures
- Clean bed linens and clothing
- Help with personal hygiene tasks
- Needed medications
- A right to privacy, freedom, and decision-making
- Social activities
- Kindness and compassion
- Attention to any pressing health care needs
- Assistance going to the restroom if needed
- Physical exercise
- Mental stimulation
If a staff member fails to administer medications on time, ignores a bed-bound resident until they develop bed sores, or ignores calls from the patient’s room, it is most likely a case of neglect.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at our legal practice handle both elder abuse and nursing home neglect cases. If you bring the details of your loved one’s mistreatment to your free consultation, we will be able to advise you of the most appropriate legal action.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
The best way to help your loved one is to visit their nursing home or long-term care facility often. Try to show up at varying times and without prior notice. Learn the names of the staff members who interact with your family member on a regular basis. Let your loved one know they can come you to at any time with any problems they experience.
It’s also best to keep your eyes open to anything that seems “off” at the nursing home. The following is an incomplete list of some of the signs that abuse or neglect may be happening:
- Unexplained or frequent injuries
- Changes in mood or behavior
- An unwillingness to talk about their life
- Staff who won’t let you spend time alone with your loved one
- Unhappy staff and residents
- Lethargy and inattentiveness when you visit
- Dirty clothes, soiled bedsheets, and poor personal hygiene
- Noticeable weight loss
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Staff who don’t seem to know your loved one’s name or individual needs
What Acts of Negligence Can Lead To Nursing Home Abuse?
If a nursing home creates a set of conditions in which abuse and neglect are allowed to happen, the facility may be held liable for the injuries a resident suffers. As experienced nursing home abuse attorneys practicing in New Mexico, these are some of the main problems we see that cause nursing homes in our local area to be unsafe for residents.
- Overworked staff
- Failure to perform background checks on applicants
- Inadequate staff training
- Negligent equipment maintenance
- Not having enough staff working on a shift
- Poor facility upkeep, cleaning, and maintenance
- Turning a blind eye to staff misconduct
A Farmington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Older Adults in New Mexico
In Farmington, San Juan County, and across New Mexico, older adults residing in nursing homes are being mistreated. Abuse and neglect are unacceptable, and we take strong legal action against anyone who allows it to happen.
We know how emotional and complex these types of cases can be. If we represent you, you will have a powerful legal advocate who is also sensitive to the trauma your family is experiencing.
Reach out to our office by calling or submitting a no-obligation online contact form. A free case evaluation is available to families searching for legal options.