Nursing Home Physical Abuse Lawyers in New Mexico
Physical abuse of the elderly is on the rise. U.S. News reports that assault rates against people age 60 and older increased by 75% among men and by 35% among women between 2000 and 2016. Unfortunately, a large portion of this physical abuse occurs in nursing homes, where older people are residing for the care and protection they need.
If you suspect your elderly loved one has suffered physical abuse in a New Mexico nursing home, contact Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 right away. We are tough advocates for nursing home victims in New Mexico.
Physical abuse in how homes occurs when caretakers, visitors, and other residents inflict physical pain and injury on older adults. Abuse can be inflicted in several different ways, including physical violence and improper use of physical and chemical restraints. Examples of physical abuse of a resident include:
- Rough handling
- Striking the older person with the hand or an object
- Slapping, shoving, shaking, kicking, or biting the victim
- Inappropriate use of medications
- Using physical restraints
- Amputations resulting from medical neglect
If you are considering filing a claim against an Albuquerque nursing home on behalf of an elderly loved one, you may have seen signs of physical abuse. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, or lacerations
- Broken eyeglasses
- Welts on the skin
- Marks from ropes
- Sprains and dislocations
- Skull fractures
- Broken bones
- Evidence of physical restraints
- Open wounds
- Internal injuries or bleeding
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Refusal of staff to allow visitors to see the resident alone
Improper care of elderly people in nursing homes can lead to amputations, particularly among residents who have diabetes or peripheral vascular disease (PVD). The damage can occur when nurses and aides fail to thoroughly check the older person’s skin for open wounds. Without proper wound care, bacteria can proliferate in the wound, destroying tissue and resulting in gangrene due to lack of blood supply. Pressure sores can also develop when blood flow is cut off, often with bedsores or improperly-fitting prosthetics.
Nursing homes owe a strict duty of care to their residents, and in many cases, they can be held liable for physical abuse against elderly people residing in their facilities. This includes cases of:
- Negligent hiring and failure to perform adequate background checks
- Negligent training of staff
- Failure to properly monitor staff
- Failure to provide adequate security
- Intentional abuse by staff members
- Use of unreasonable or dangerous physical restraints
- Medical neglect -- failure to provide medications or address medical needs
- Failure to provide food, water, or daily necessities of living
- Failure to protect residents from health and safety hazards
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in reporting the abuse to the proper authorities and getting your loved one into a safe environment. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate the incident to determine how the injury occurred and who is liable. We can also assist you in a claim for compensation to hold the responsible parties accountable.
A recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), entitled “Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings: What Is Known and What Information Is Needed?” This study reports that a survey of 577 nursing home staff members from 31 facilities revealed that 36 percent had witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse in the previous year, and 10 percent admitted personally committing abuse. These incidents involved:
- Excessive use of physical restraints (21%)
- Pushing, shoving, grabbing, or pinching a resident (17%)
- Slapping or hitting an older person (13%)
- Throwing something at a resident (3%)
- Kicking or hitting with an object or fist (2%)
According to a recent Forbes article, New Mexico ranks among the 10 worst states for nursing homes in the nation. Forbes reports that FamilyAssets compiled a list of the 10 best and the 10 worst states from a collection of hundreds of thousands of nursing home reviews. Among the states with a prevalence of bad reviews (one or two stars):
- New Mexico ranks the third worst, with 40.4% bad reviews.
However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has Five-Star Quality Rating System to show how both individual homes and states rank. CMC, which regulates nursing homes, notes that New Mexico comes in at 46th place out of 51 total. The numbers beside the state is the average star ranking of facilities in the state based on a 5-star system:
46. New Mexico - 3.07
47. Georgia - 3.01
48. Kentucky - 2.98
49. Louisiana - 2.8
50. Oklahoma - 2.76
51. Texas - 2.68
Physical abuse in a nursing home is a serious matter that must be dealt with swiftly and effectively. At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, we are committed to holding responsible parties accountable in New Mexico, to help deter further abuse in the future.
If you suspect physical abuse against your elderly loved one, call us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. We can take prompt action to report the abuse and protect the older person. Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
Don't wait to get help. Contact our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
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