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How Can Families Detect and Address Nursing Home Abuse?

Posted by Shane Maier | Jul 01, 2024 | 0 Comments

Is Nursing Home Abuse a Common Problem in the United States?

Elder abuse in nursing homes is a distressingly common issue across the United States. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), about one in every ten nursing home residents experiences some form of abuse in a nursing home facility. And it is worth remembering that these numbers are likely underreported. Many abuse victims do not report their experiences due to fear, shame, concern about retaliation, or cognitive impairments. It is believed that just one in every 24 cases of nursing home abuse gets reported.

Even nursing home staff report being witness to elder abuse in nursing home facilities. Close to 80% of staff reported other coworkers had emotionally harmed or mistreated nursing home residents, according to recent statistics.

What Are Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Perhaps the most common example of nursing home abuse is elder neglect, in which elderly residents of assisted living facilities and nursing home facilities are not treated or cared for properly.

Other common types of nursing home abuse seen in New Mexico include the following:

·         Emotional abuse: yelling at, demeaning, blaming, belittling, and teasing elders is considered emotional abuse

·         Financial exploitation: this can occur when the at-fault party takes advantage of an elder's diminished mental capacity to exploit their finances for personal gain

·         Physical abuse: striking, punching, slapping, pushing, hitting, pinching, scratching, and other examples of physical violence are examples of physical elder abuse

·         Psychological abuse: not every type of abuse must leave a physical injury. Some of the most insidious forms of elder abuse include nonverbal, emotional, mental, and psychological abuse

·         Sexual abuse: any unwanted sexual contact with a nursing home resident without consent can be considered sexual abuse

What Are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect to Be Watchful For?

If your elderly loved one or family member is in a nursing home facility, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse. These warning signs can alert you to problems that may be occurring and going unreported by staff or the victim.

Warning signs of elder neglect and abuse include:

·         Altered security cam footage

·         Bed sores (also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers)

·         Broken bones

·         Complaints about missing money

·         Dehydration

·         Elopement or escape from the facility

·         Fear, anxiety, and depression

·         Incorrect medical procedures

·         Incorrect medication

·         Infections such as gangrene or sepsis

·         Lack of supervision

·         Malnutrition

·         Missing staff logs or charts

·         New soft tissue injuries like sprains

·         Poor hygiene

·         Restraint bruises

·         Strangulation injuries

·         Sudden changes in medication regimen

·         Unexplained fall injuries

·         Unexplained rapid increase or decrease in weight

·         Unreasonable use of restraints

·         Unsanitary living conditions

·         Unwillingness to speak when nursing home staff are present

·         Wrongful death

If your family member has any of these warning signs, it may be an indication of elder abuse or neglect in the nursing home facility. Our law firm has years of experience representing complex personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse cases. To discuss your case in more detail, we encourage you to contact our New Mexico law offices to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation today.

Where Should You Report Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico?

Family members, consumers, and the general public have the right to report nursing home abuse, exploitation, or neglect. These reports should be submitted directly to the New Mexico Department of Health.

You are encouraged to retain professional legal representation from experienced elder abuse attorneys when filing an official claim with the New Mexico Department of Health. Contact our law firm for more information.

Who Could Be Held Liable for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in NM?

The individual who committed the abuse offense should be held liable for their wrongdoings. However, they may not be the only entity held responsible in a court of law. In addition to the at-fault party who perpetrated the abuse, the nursing home facility and others can be held accountable in many nursing home abuse cases.

Potentially liable parties in a nursing home abuse case include the following:

·         Doctors

·         Nurses

·         Nursing home staff members

·         Other nursing home residents

·         Surgeons

·         The nursing home facility or assisted living facility itself

·         Visitors to the nursing home

It is important to hold at-fault parties accountable for your family member's pain and suffering. However, it is also important to hold them accountable so that they do not cause similar harm to others in the future.

What Pieces of Evidence Could Be Used to Prove Abuse or Negligence?

Improving elder abuse or nursing home neglect can be a complex legal challenge. Not all forms of abuse leave visible scars, after all. Only with adequate evidence can you prove your elder abuse claim and seek justice and financial recovery for your case.

Staff logs kept by the nursing home facility can help show who was on duty when an injury occurred and potentially show whether the facility was understaffed at the time. Staff charts can help point the finger at who is truly to blame.

If security camera footage exists, this footage may be utilized to establish claims of nursing home abuse.

Medical records may be considered invaluable to nursing home abuse cases, especially in cases involving physical or sexual abuse. Medical records will detail necessary information about a victim's physical injuries and how they might have got them.

Statements taken from nursing home staff, residents, and visitors testifying to the quality of treatment a resident received could also be valuable to your case.

Can Our Lawyers Help You Obtain Compensation?

With a strong case, it is possible to recover financial compensation for injuries sustained and losses suffered.

This compensation may include the following:

·         Past medical bills and future medical expenses

·         Emotional distress and mental anguish

·         Disability, dismemberment, or disfigurement

·         Lost quality of life

·         Property damage

·         Physical pain and suffering

·         Loss of companionship or consortium

·         Funeral, burial, and memorial expenses

·         Wrongful death 

Contact Us to Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today

Anyone can commit nursing home or elder abuse. Statistics show that family members and loved ones visiting the elderly at nursing home facilities have been known to abuse their elders. But nursing home staff and other nursing home residents are also to blame for abuse.

If you believe that your elderly loved one has been abused in a nursing home facility, you must take immediate action to protect your senior loved one and explore your legal options for holding at-fault parties accountable.

Contact our New Mexico law firm to discuss your case in more detail by calling us at 505-226-3205.

About the Author

Shane Maier

Attorney Shane Maier has been a successful attorney as a prior defense attorney and for the last few years representing injured parties. His experience includes obtaining successful results at trial for personal injury cases and providing great results for his clients. Mr. Maier takes on some of ...

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