New Mexico Nursing Home Disability Abuse Attorneys
Advocating for Proper Treatment and Care for Disabled Residents
Moving into a nursing home is often a necessity for families and residents, especially as the resident’s health declines. Many residents may require Personal Assistance Services (PAS) to deal with daily tasks, such as bathing, eating, drinking, or moving around. For the disabled community, nursing homes may advertise reliable assistance with mobility and medical care as major benefits to residents. However, abuse towards disabled individuals is present in all industries, and nursing homes are no exception.
Nursing homes are in charge of the health of our loved ones and are expected to provide the maximum quality of care, especially for disabled residents. When you or a loved one are facing mistreatment in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact the Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP. We can ensure your loved one’s rights are protected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their injuries, whether they are a staff member, medical provider, administrator, or another resident. Call us at (903) 290-1774 for a free case evaluation.
Factors That Contribute to Discrimination and Abuse
Physical impairments can limit one’s ability to fight back against or prevent abuse, and this becomes even more challenging for older individuals. Nursing home residents, in particular, rely on staff members and administrators for regular assistance with day to day tasks in addition to receiving proper medical treatment for their conditions. When abuse does occur, victims and their family may fear reporting it to proper authorities because:
- Institutionalized discrimination: Our society has never been the kindest towards the disabled community and even basic respect and courtesy are often denied. Abuse that may appear obvious to an able-bodied individual can be viewed as an everyday occurrence for someone with a physical disability. Untrained staff members may not even consider their actions abusive.
- Fear of reprisal: Nursing homes may see disabled residents as a burden on resources and difficult to deal with. Family members and residents may feel anxious about reporting abuse because they worry that it will only make matters worse or that the nursing home will evict the resident. This is a major concern for low-income families and residents who believe that the nursing home is their only hope for proper care.
- Difficulty verbalizing abuse: Some physical disabilities can be debilitating to the ability to communicate, such as in the case of speaking impairments. Residents may also have overlapping conditions, such as dementia, that make it challenging to report abuse.
Consequences of Neglect
Abuse may take many forms in a nursing home, from physical to financial, but one of the major issues facing disabled residents is neglect. Disabled residents may require additional treatment, care, and assistance from staff members and health professionals when compared to other residents, and administrators may choose to cut corners in order to maintain higher profits. When a nursing home is neglectful towards a disabled resident, injuries that occur may include:
- Slip and falls: Residents with mobility issues will require proper equipment, such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, to move around the facility. If the facility is unmaintained or lacks safety rails, these residents risk suffering serious falls. For the elderly, a fall is more than just a bruise or sprained ankle; it can mean death.
- Pressure sores: Residents may be confined to a bed or chair for long periods of time throughout their day. Staff are required to regularly bath the resident and help reposition them to ensure pressure sores do not develop. If they do occur, they should be identified and treated as early as possible to avoid serious infections.
- Improper medication: Despite federal restrictions, anti-psychotics have become a common method of sedating nursing home residents. Staff members may utilize these drugs to keep a patient docile and less likely to call out abuse.
- Isolation: Physical disabilities may limit a resident’s ability to attend nursing home functions such as holiday parties, community gatherings, or even visit their friends in the facility. Staff should do their best to ensure every resident is able to enjoy a fulfilling social life within a nursing home, but they may neglect a resident by isolating them or refusing to assist them with anything other than medical matters. But isolation can be a detrimental form of emotional abuse that further limits the resident’s chances of speaking out.
Identifying neglect can be difficult if a resident does not have regular visitors such as friends or family. This is why when you visit a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to review all aspects of their life, from their medical treatment to their mental health. If at any point you fear that your loved one is being mistreated based on a disability, you should raise the issue with the administrator and contact your state’s long-term care ombudsmen. The New Mexico Ombudsman can be reached at 1-866-451-2901.
Compassionate and Knowledgeable Legal Representation
Responding to nursing home abuse may be a difficult process. You may feel that you do not want to put your loved one’s healthcare at risk, do not want to get local authorities involved, or are not sure if you have a case. But if you suspect that a disabled family member is suffering abuse in a nursing home, you should not hesitate to contact the New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP.
We offer free consultations to review your case and can launch a full investigation into the abuse. Not only will we contact the proper authorities to hold nursing home staff or administrators accountable for any injuries your loved one has suffered, but we can also develop a personal injury claim to cover any damages they may have received at the hands of their abuser. Call us at (903) 290-1774 to ensure the rights of your loved one are protected.