New Mexico Assisted Living Facility Abuse Attorney
Assisted living facilities provide housing for the elderly or disabled, along with housekeeping, meals, personal care, and healthcare services, as needed. This type of long-term care is designed to provide for older adults and disabled individuals who need assistance with daily living in a way that promotes maximum independence. Assisted living services may be provided in independent housing complexes, as components of continuing care retirement communities, or in freestanding communities, near or integrated with nursing homes or hospitals.
Assisted living facilities provide a range of services and activities for residents, including:
- Round-the-clock supervision
- Three meals a day in a group dining room
- Medication management and assistance
- Personal care services (bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.)
- Supervision and assistance for residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or disabilities
- Laundry and linen service
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Transportation arrangements
- Social services
- Wellness and exercise programs
In New Mexico, assisted living facilities are regulated under NMAC 7.8.2, which defines abuse as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish. . .” The state agency responsible for oversight and regulation of assisted living facilities is the New Mexico Department of Health, Division of Health Improvement. This is the agency that conducts health and safety surveys for assisted living facilities. It is responsible for ensuring that caregivers have required screenings and background checks.
Residents of assisted living facilities typically require less care than nursing home residents. They are usually more capable of performing daily activities, such as transferring from place to place, eating, or grooming, but they can still become victims of abuse and neglect. Resident abuse in assisted living facilities occurs in the same forms as in nursing homes – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.
- Physical abuse: This can occur as pinching, hitting, slapping, pushing, shoving, kicking, or improper use of restraints. It is also physical abuse when an assisted living resident is denied food or drink, or forced to consume food or drink.
- Emotional abuse: Psychological or emotional abuse can take the form of verbal assault, bullying, harassment, or degradation. It may also include giving a resident the “silent treatment” as punishment for undesired actions.
- Sexual abuse: Unbelievable as it may seem, sexual abuse can and does occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It is sexual abuse when an individual engages in non-consensual sexual acts with a resident.
- Financial exploitation: This type of abuse occurs when someone takes advantage of a resident financially. It involves the use of the resident’s money or property without permission for the benefit of another.
- Neglect: Assisted living residents may become victims of neglect when the facility is understaffed. Their quarters may be dirty and unsanitary, and they may suffer malnutrition, dehydration, or injuries, such as bedsores and rashes.
If your elderly loved one resides in an assisted living facility, it pays to be alert for signs of abuse or neglect. These may include:
- Pressure sores
- Cuts, bruises, or unexplained injuries
- Poor personal hygiene
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained weight loss
- The rapid deterioration of mental or physical health
- A Fearful or intimidated attitude
- Depression, withdrawal, or changes in behavior
- Improper use of physical or chemical restraints
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of assisted living abuse, it is critical that you take action to stop it. Filing a complaint with the facility may be sufficient to resolve the issue in some cases. In other cases, it may be necessary to remove your loved one from the facility. In severe cases, your loved one may need medical attention to address the harm caused by abuse or neglect.
Severe abuse or neglect should be reported to New Mexico’s long-term care ombudsman. More information is available from the Aging & Long-Term Services Department. The ombudsman is responsible for investigating reports of abuse in long-term care facilities and may contact Adult Protective Services. If not, you should do so.
When your loved one is out of danger, speak with an assisted living abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C. at (903) 212-2822 to get an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney on your side. We are dedicated advocates for elderly victims of assisted living abuse.
Don't wait to get help. Contact our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
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