Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect has become one of the nation's largest growing problems. It is estimated that one in three nursing homes has been reported for abuse. This number may be significantly understated. This statistic is troubling in light of the fact that nursing home abuse potentially affects 1.6 million nursing home residents. The problem is likely to grow much worse with the nursing home population growing rapidly with the aging of the baby boom generation.
There are numerous varieties of nursing home abuse including physical abuse or neglect, psychological abuse and neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. It is important for family members to watch for signs of nursing home abuse. Residents are often afraid to report abuse on their own for numerous reasons. They may not want to burden their family. They may simply be passive or unaware of the fact that the treatment constitutes abuse and not simply business as usual. In some cases, they may even fear retaliation and even worse mistreatment in the case of a report.
The causes for nursing home abuse are many. A contributing factor is the fact that many nursing home personnel are underpaid, under qualified and under trained. These same factors result in enormous turnover of personnel which itself can cause problems of abuse and neglect. The problems are only going to get worse as a result of the exploding population of nursing home residents and the limited pool of qualified and caring nursing home professionals.
The recovery for victims of nursing home abuse are dependent upon the circumstances of abuse and neglect, and the resultant injuries. Often times, perpetrators of abuse have had a history of abuse with other providers. Unfortunately, employee screening of nursing home employees is often negligent in itself. A history of abuse on the part of the perpetrator as well as the failure to screen by the employer are important factors in a nursing home abuse claim. The injuries can cover a spectrum of damages from mental anguish to death. Proof of damages will often involve extensive attorney time and significant expert witness assistance.
If you suspect nursing home abuse of a loved one, it is important that you investigate to protect your loved one. It is also important that you understand your rights and the rights of your loved one. You should take immediate action to insure the safety of your loved one. At the same time, you should contact a qualified attorney immediately to insure that the legal rights of you and your loved one are fully protected.
What to Do in Case of Suspected Nursing Home Abuse:
- Take Action To Protect The Safety Of Your Loved One
- Put The Nursing Home On Notice Of The Abuse Or Neglect
- Obtain The Names And Contact Information For Any Witnesses Including Other Staff And Residents
- Contact Adult Protective Services
- Seek Medical Attention For Your Loved One If Needed
- Contact An Attorney To Understand Your Rights And Any Applicable Time Limits
Please keep in mind that there are strict time limits on personal injury claims. If you miss these time limits, your claim will be barred completely. Most personal injury claims in New Mexico have a 3 year statute of limitations period. However, the time period for taking action may be as little as 90 days if a governmental entity is involved.
It is critical that you speak with a lawyer immediately after a suspected incident of nursing home abuse or neglect. Delay can be very detrimental to your rights!
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