Elders deserve to be treated with respect and care in their nursing homes just as much as they should be when they’re in their own home or living with family. After making the difficult decision to move your loved one to a long-term care facility, you expect their new home to keep them safe just like you would. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it goes.
When your loved one is experiencing subpar care that injures and endangers them, you could use the help of our Santa Fe, NM nursing home abuse lawyer. At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we’re prepared to fully investigate what happened to your elderly family member, how they were abused, what injuries they sustained, and what they’re owed in damages. You can trust us to protect their rights.
New Mexico Nursing Home Resident Rights
Even though your older loved one has chosen to move into a long-term care facility where they’ll get around-the-clock care as they need, they still have rights as a human being that keep them from being completely controlled while at their facility. Through the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing home residents in the United States have rights that must be upheld at their facility.
Here are some of the rights included in the act that you should know about when admitting your loved one into a nursing facility:
- The right to be fully informed.
- The right to make complaints.
- The right to be an active participant in their own care.
- The right to privacy in their care and in their rooms.
- The right to dignity, respect, and freedom.
- The right to visits as well as unmonitored visits.
- The right to independence and making their own choices.
- The right to transfers and having a safe transfer.
These rights can be comforting to know as a resident in a nursing home and as the family member of an elder in a facility. Even though they ensure by law that your elderly loved one will maintain their rights in their nursing home, that doesn’t mean that these rights will be upheld by the staff.
One of the ways that a long-term care facility might break these rights is by abusing your older family member. After being abused or neglected and experiencing an infringement of rights, you could use the help of our Santa Fe, NM nursing home abuse attorney. We’ll defend their rights and get them justice for what they’ve endured.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you’re considering filing a nursing home abuse claim, then you’ve likely seen signs that your loved one is experiencing abuse and neglect at the hands of the staff, residents, or other members of their long-term care facility. You might be unsure, though, if you’re definitely seeing signs of abuse or neglect. If you’ve never been through this before, you might not know what to look for even though it feels wrong.
That’s why it’s important to know the signs to look for—that way, you can correctly identify whether or not your loved one is experiencing abuse. Even if it turns out that your loved one isn’t being abused, it’s still helpful to know what to look for and be able to identify the signs that something isn’t right with your family member’s care.
Whether you think the abuse they’re enduring is physical, emotional, mental, financial, or sexual, many of the signs overlap. Being as vigilant as possible to changes is your best course of action. Here are some of the signs to be aware of that could indicate your loved one is being abused or neglected in their long-term care facility:
- Unexplained bruises and broken bones
- Poor hygiene
- Soiled and unchanged sheets
- Messy or uncleaned room
- Missing medication
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dehydration and malnourishment
- Unexplained STDs
- Missing funds
- Missing valuables from their room
- Change in demeanor
- Anxiety and depression
- Refusing to speak to anyone
The signs above could be from abuse or neglect. Often, abuse is malicious and intentional, whereas neglect is unintentional. But both are equally as dangerous because they can lead to your loved one being seriously injured. As an older person, this can cause their health to rapidly decline.
When you recognize any of these signs and start to suspect your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected in their long-term care facility, our Santa Fe, NM nursing home abuse lawyer is here to stand up for them and get them justice for what has happened to them.
Reporting Abuse in New Mexico
Once you start to suspect that your loved one is being abused, you might be wondering how you can start building your case and reporting your suspicions to the appropriate parties. The first thing you’ll want to do is alert the nursing home. They can’t take action against the behavior if you don’t alert them, assuming they aren’t aware of the abuse.
After you report your suspicions to the facility, they will either take action or ignore your report, which will help you decide your next steps. If they take care of the complaint, then you might be done with the process. If they ignore your complaint, you’ll want to move on to more powerful parties.
In our state, you’ll want to report the abuse to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Reporting your complaint or incident to the NMDOH allows them to have your report on record. Additionally, they’ll investigate your complaint and the behavior of the nursing home.
Around your complaint to NMDOH, you’ll also want to reach out to a long-term care ombudsman. They’re advocates for the residents of nursing homes who might feel like they don’t have a voice. They make regular visits to look into how residents are being treated and can help you build your case against an abusive facility.
Finally, what you’ll want to do is hire an attorney. Much like the NMDOH, they’ll investigate what happened to your loved one and determine who was at fault for their mistreatment. From there, your Santa Fe, NM nursing home abuse lawyer will ensure that your family member’s rights are protected.
Our Santa Fe, NM Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
Your loved one shouldn’t have to suffer through their abuse alone. They didn’t deserve to be treated that way in the first place, which is why our Santa Fe, NM nursing home abuse lawyer is here to stand up for your elderly family member. We have experience going up against facilities and staff members who abuse and neglect their residents, so we’re prepared to fight for your loved one.
We will form our own investigation to see what happened and what your family member is owed. Then we’ll work to get them full and fair compensation. Reach out to our office today so we can get started on your free consultation.