How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse occurs in several different forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. Particularly when it affects nursing home residents with dementia, abuse can be difficult to identify and define and often goes unreported. Nevertheless, the rates of reported abuse are alarming, as researchers found in a study published by the National Academy of Sciences. According to this study, 2.5 million vulnerable seniors living in nursing homes and other facilities have a much higher risk of abuse and neglect than older people living at home.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be alert for the following signs of abuse and neglect:
- Unexplained welts or bruises
- Broken bones
- Physical discomfort
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Excessive weight loss
- Infections, viruses, or diseases
- Marks or bruises around the genitals
- Emotional withdrawal
- Silence around caretakers
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Sudden financial problems or unpaid bills
- Changes in the elder’s will or power of attorney
Where Do You Report Nursing Home Abuse?
If you have observed signs of nursing home abuse, you have a duty to report it. There is a “Duty to Report” provision in the New Mexico Adult Protective Services Act, which states:
“Any person, or financial institution, having reasonable cause to believe that an incapacitated adult is being abused, neglected or exploited shall immediately report that information to Adult Protective Services.”
There are also five Adult Protective Services regional offices serving all 33 New Mexico counties, where you can report nursing home abuse and neglect. Those offices are:
- Northeast (Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Taos, Colfax, Union, Mora, Harding, San Miguel, and Guadalupe Counties): Call (505) 425-9335.
- Northwest (San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, and Socorro Counties, plus part of Sandoval County): Call (505) 287-1312.
- Metro (Bernalillo, Torrance, and Sandoval Counties): Call (505) 841-4500.
- Southeast (Lincoln, De Baca, Quay, Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy, and Lea Counties): Call (575) 624-6071, ext. 1130.
- Southwest (Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, Sierra, Luna, Dona Ana, and Otero Counties): Call (575) 373-5570.
What Is the Next Step After You Report the Abuse?
Reporting nursing home abuse is required by state law, but it may be only the first step if your elderly loved one has been a victim of abuse. Your best course of action is to speak with an experienced New Mexico nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. You may have a claim for compensation against a caregiver, the nursing home facility, or other responsible parties.
At the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C., we are dedicated advocates with a successful track record representing injured seniors and their families in nursing home abuse cases. Call us at (903) 207-5526 to schedule a free consultation with no obligation. Our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyer can explain your options under the law.