New Mexico Nursing Home Responsibilities & Regulations
Empowering You to Protect Your Loved Ones from Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
In 1987, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) laid out a set of regulations and responsibilities that nursing homes have toward their patients. These regulations protect our loved ones and are designed to ensure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. As children and grandchildren, the wellbeing of those who raised us is very important to us, and we want them to live the rest of their lives in comfort and health.
Nursing homes promise to provide a safe facility where our loved ones can be looked after and given care when they can no longer care for themselves. It is a sad fact that there are high rates of abuse of the elderly in nursing homes – physically, emotionally, sexually, and financially. At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, we protect the rights of the elderly to ensure they receive responsible care that nursing homes are required to provide our loved ones.
Nursing Home Responsibilities
Any nursing home that accepts Medicare or Medicaid is governed by the NHRA, and is required to provide the following to each patient:
- Nursing, social, and rehabilitation services
- Food sufficient to meet dietary needs
- Pharmaceutical needs
- Periodic reviews and assessment of each resident
- A comprehensive care plan developed for each resident
- Access to a full-time social worker if the nursing home has more than 120 beds
- Provide a facility that is free of accident hazards
Nursing homes are also governed by many regulations and requirements regarding their operation, which include:
- The establishment of infection control programs
- Storing, preparing and distributing food under sanitary conditions
- Full background checks on all prospective employees and refusing to hire anyone with a history of abuse
These nursing homes are required to undergo thorough inspections at 15-month intervals that include patient interviews and careful investigation to ensure the nursing home is compliant with regulations and the rights of patients are not being violated. Violations, if found, result in consequences that range from fines up through cancellation of the agreement with Medicaid and Medicare.
The Residents’ Bill of Rights
Another part of the NHRA is called the Residents’ Bill of Rights, and it lists rights that are legally guaranteed to residents of a nursing home. Nursing homes have the responsibility of ensuring these rights aren’t violated, and violations can result in both legal liability on a civil case as well as penalties, fines, and criminal charges. These rights include:
- The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
- The right to freedom from physical restraints
- The right to privacy
- The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
- The right to participate in resident and family groups
- The right to be treated with dignity
- The right to exercise self-determination
- The right to communicate freely
- The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility
- The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
Common Nursing Home Violations
Despite the NHRA being in effect since 1987, violations continue to occur daily, with thousands of infractions found each year. Some of the top types of violations include:
- Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Poor nutrition
- Poor hygiene
- Isolation or punishments inflicted on residents
- Lack of medical care
These violations will directly impact the wellbeing of an elderly person and can be the basis for a claim or lawsuit.
What to Do if Your Loved One is Suffering Abuse at a Nursing Home
If you’re concerned that your parents, grandparents, or other family member is suffering from abuse, neglect, or any other violations by nursing home staff, you need to take action now. You can contact your local New Mexico long-term care ombudsman and get help. If you’re urgently concerned about the health and wellbeing of your loved one, you should contact a nursing home abuse attorney to investigate and initiate legal action against the negligent facility.
How We Can Help
Our attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP have years of experience protecting the rights of the elderly in nursing homes. Our intimate knowledge of the NHRA, as well as other federal and state regulations regarding nursing homes, gives us a sizable advantage when we begin legal action. With our reputation, many nursing homes immediately snap-to when confronted with the prospect of dealing with us in court, and we can rapidly resolve the problems while holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Contact us today at (903) 458-9138 to schedule a free consultation so we can answer your questions and get you the help you need.