How and When to Report Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico

How and When to Report Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico

Once you suspect that your loved one (or another resident) has experienced some form of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you need to report it immediately.

Often, these individuals are the more vulnerable members of society. Since they live around their abusers, they may be afraid to speak out and seek help.

If you don’t know how or when to report this type of abuse, we have provided a quick reference guide to help your loved one get the help they need. As always, if you need to have any legal questions answered, feel free to contact our New Mexico nursing home abuse attorneys.

Abusive Treatment Is a Major Concern in Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing home abuse is a prevalent problem across the state. According to a recent report by the United States Commission on Civil Report, the New Mexico Adult Protective Service Division received more than 11,500 instances of elder abuse each year.

Unfortunately, New Mexico nursing home facilities are consistently ranked near the bottom for quality of care. These scores are graded on the overall quality of care provided to residents, along with safety measures and protection from neglect and abuse.

Under the New Mexico Resident Abuse and Neglect Act (RANA), codified as N.M. Stat. § 30-47-1, there are mandatory requirements for reporting abusive treatment in the state. Under RANA, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and facility staff are required to report any suspected abuse or neglect immediately.

Along with that, there are whistleblower protections for those who speak out against abuse.

Many times, staff members and other healthcare providers are afraid to say something for fear of losing their jobs. However, these protections make it easier to report and stop abusive actions.

Any violations of the act can lead to civil and criminal penalties. Nursing homes that do not comply with these regulations could have their license revoked.

When To Report Abuse or Neglect

Certain red flags could indicate your loved one or someone else is experiencing abuse or neglect at a nursing home. They can include:

  • Unexplained injuries or infections
  • Behavioral changes
  • Fear of certain staff members or residents
  • Unkempt appearance

While the above list is not exhaustive, you should be concerned about the welfare of your loved one if you notice any of these red flags. At the first sign of abuse, you should, at the very minimum, address the situation with staff and administrators. While that may start the investigation process, you may want to escalate matters.

If you suspect that they may have experienced abuse or neglect, let’s look at how to report these incidents.

How To Report This Mistreatment

If you believe someone is receiving the proper care in a nursing home, the first step is to document any evidence of abuse. You will want to take photographs of any injuries or signs of neglect. Also, collect all medical records related to your loved one’s health and well-being, as these documents could reveal patterns of mistreatment.

Once you have evidence, you need to report the abuse to the proper authorities. With that, you can make sure that the right agencies are aware of the problem and start an investigation process.

New Mexico Department of Health

If you’re in Albuquerque or elsewhere in New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Health is a valuable resource for reporting incidents.

Contact them promptly to share your concerns. To report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults aged 18 or older, including those enrolled in Home and Community-Based Medicaid Waiver programs, follow these steps:

  • Call the Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Hotline at 866-654-3219.
  • Alternatively, you can file a report online.

If you have concerns about health facilities, consumers, family members, or the general public, you can contact the Health Facilities Complaints Hotline at 1-800-752-8649 or submit a complaint form online.

Adult Protective Services (APS)

APS is a nationwide agency that investigates and responds to reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults. You can report nursing home abuse, and they will take necessary action.

After that, you may want to consider removing your loved one from the abusive situation. You can explore alternative living arrangements for the resident. Many times, this could involve moving them to a different facility or arranging for in-home care.

If the current nursing home is unsafe, consider transferring the resident to a different facility with a better track record of care. In cases where physical or sexual abuse occurred, make sure to seek immediate medical attention. Their health and recovery should be the top priority.

When To Get Legal Assistance in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

After you have reported the abuse, you may want to contact an experienced New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyer. Legal counsel is essential to protecting your loved ones’ rights and ensuring that the appropriate action is taken. A skilled attorney can provide guidance, advocate for the resident, and help hold responsible parties accountable.

If you have any questions regarding a nursing home abuse or neglect case, the attorneys at Barrera Law Group LLC are ready to assist.

Remember, you are not alone in this process. We are always here to make sure to protect the safety and dignity of all nursing home residents throughout New Mexico.