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Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in New Mexico

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Elderly people are in nursing homes because they require regular medical care, supervision, and assistance with daily living. When nursing homes and their staff fail to provide for the needs of their residents, their neglect is a type of abuse. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, contact Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 today to find out if you have a claim for damages.

Under federal regulations, neglect is defined as the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness. Neglect is a form of nursing home abuse distinct from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. It involves substandard care and breach of the nursing home’s duty to a resident. Nursing home neglect occurs when nursing homes fail or refuse to fulfill their obligations to residents, which include providing food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medications, and medical care and services that a prudent person would deem essential for the well-being of another.

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Types of Nursing Home Neglect

There are four different basic types of nursing home neglect:

  • Basic needs neglect: The nursing home fails to provide a resident with a reasonable amount of food and water, or fails to provide a safe, clean environment.
  • Personal hygiene neglect: Nursing home staff fail to provide adequate assistance to residents with washing up, brushing their teeth, bathing, laundry, and other personal hygiene practices.
  • Medical neglect: This type of neglect occurs when the facility fails to adequately attend to or prevent medical concerns, including bedsores, infections, lacerations, diabetes, mobility issues, and cognitive disorders.
  • Emotional or social neglect: Nursing home staff members repeatedly ignore the resident, leaving him or her alone.

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Examples of Nursing Home Neglect

Neglect of residents in nursing homes can occur in many different ways. Examples of nursing home neglect, taken from a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding elder abuse in long-term care settings, include:

  • Failing to change residents each time they are wet or have an episode of incontinence
  • Not doing scheduled toileting or helping residents when they ask
  • Failing to provide oral and dental care
  • Not giving residents regular baths
  • Failing to keep residents hydrated
  • Ignoring bedfast residents and failing to offer them activities
  • Failing to perform prescribed wound care
  • Doing one-person transfers with a resident who requires two-person transfers
  • Failing to do range of motion exercises
  • Turning off call lights or failing to take action when requested by a resident

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What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

Like other forms of nursing home abuse, neglect has certain signs that can be observed in your elderly loved one or the facility and its staff. Signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • General uncleanliness and poor appearance
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Bedsores
  • Falls resulting in injuries
  • Soiled diapers and garments
  • Frequent infections and illnesses that are not immediately reported to physician and family
  • Lack of timely care for injuries, mobility issues, or required changes in medications
  • Resident’s room consistently left uncleaned
  • General lack of attention and compassion from staff members

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How Prevalent Is Neglect in Nursing Homes?

Neglect in nursing homes is more challenging to identify and quantify than other types of nursing home abuse. It can occur as either a failure to provide needed services and assistance, or as tasks performed inappropriately. The study on elder abuse mentioned above states that 95 percent of residents interviewed for one long-term care ombudsman study reported that they had personally experienced or witnessed neglect. The types of neglect these residents reported included:

  • Being left wet or soiled
  • Not being turned or positioned to prevent bedsores
  • Call lights being shut off without helping the resident
  • Not getting enough to eat or drink due to lack of needed assistance at mealtimes

The above study also reports that a review of records and care practices in 14 facilities in 11 states revealed inadequate care in one-third of the facilities. These deficiencies were found in the areas of:

  • Nutritional support
  • Personal assistance
  • Pressure ulcer care
  • Prevention of contractures (shortening and hardening of muscles or tendons)
  • Pain management

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Why You Need a Lawyer for Nursing Home Neglect

Your elderly loved one has a right to quality care in a nursing home. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of neglect, our experienced nursing home abuse attorney can thoroughly investigate the matter, take action to end the neglect, and pursue a claim for compensation on behalf of you and your loved one to hold responsible parties accountable.

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What Must You Prove to Win a Nursing Home Neglect Case?

If you file a claim against a New Mexico nursing home for neglect of your loved one, there are several elements your attorney will need to prove to win your case. When injury was caused by the nursing home’s negligence, your lawyer must show that:

  • The nursing home owed a duty of care to your loved one (based on the contract with the nursing home).
  • The nursing home breached that duty of care to your loved one by failing to do what should have been done.
  • Your loved one suffered harm as a result.

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Contact Us Today

At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, we are zealous legal advocates for victims of nursing home neglect throughout New Mexico. If you suspect your elderly loved one has suffered neglect in a nursing home, contact our firm as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. We will travel to you if you are unable to come to our office.

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