What Signs May Indicate Nursing Home Neglect in New Mexico

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on April 15, 2024 in Nursing Home Neglect

close up of an elderly woman's hands resting on a walking caneChoosing a nursing home is a big decision, and often not an easy one. What families hope for is a facility that will provide the level of care your loved one needs and deserves. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Do you know what signs to look for that may indicate your loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect?

At PKSD in New Mexico, advocating for victims who have been injured by nursing home neglect or abuse is our business. Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Santa Fe are compassionate, experienced and have a history of proven results.

Call for a completely FREE case review today. (505) 677-7777

What Are the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

Neglect in a nursing home can sometimes be hard to spot, especially if your loved one has trouble communicating. Families who are close enough to visit on a regular basis will have a much easier time spotting the warning signs that something is wrong. They will see, for instance, that their loved one is acting in a way that is unusual for them, like being more afraid or withdrawing and not communicating.

These are some additional signs that might indicate there is a problem:

  • Poor personal hygiene – your loved one smells or looks disheveled all the time
  • Dirty, soiled bed sheets and clothing
  • Unclean, unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
  • Bedsores due to not being regularly cleaned and turned
  • Unexplained bruises, fractures and other injuries
  • Dehydration and/or malnutrition
  • Your loved one seems uncomfortable or timid around staff
  • Atypical withdrawal of your loved one
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as rocking or being afraid
  • Repeated UTIs

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

You may not know for sure, but if you have concerns that something may be wrong, you have the right to ask questions and find out. Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Try to get some answers: Talk to the nursing home administrators and staff to see what is going on. For instance, has your loved one recently been ill or fallen?
  • Ask to see medical records: Check your loved one’s medical records. If there were any injuries or illnesses, they should have been properly documented
  • Keep a journal: Take notes and document what you see every time you visit. Take photos of your loved one, especially any unusual or unexplained injuries you see. Photograph the bed sheets and the room in general to show it is not being properly cleaned.
  • Talk to staff and administrators: Talk to staff or residents who can give you more information. If none of the workers seem to have answers, speak to the administrators.
  • Contact the ombudsman: Every state has an ombudsman program for nursing home issues. This person can help you handle the situation.
  • Gather potential witnesses: If other staff or visitors have seen neglect, their statements can help support your case.
  • Contact an attorney: You may feel uncomfortable with this step, but there is no cost or obligation to call PKSD for legal help. If you are not getting help from the nursing home, it is important you understand your legal rights in this situation.

Evidence That Can Help To Support a Case of Nursing Home Neglect

When you call an attorney for legal help, he or she will need to ask questions. There may also be some documents that you will need to provide. These steps are needed for any injury case resulting from negligence. Legally, the burden of proof is placed on the injured victim, or his or her family.

To establish there is a case, your attorney will need to prove the following elements:

The Nursing Home Owed You a Legal Duty of Care

If you signed a contract and your loved one has been under the care of a nursing home, then there is likely a legal duty of care.

The Legal Duty of Care Has Been Breached

In order to prove the nursing home violated the duty of care, you will have to show how they did not meet acceptable standards of care.  Substandard care could include:

  • Not providing regular food and drink to your loved one, causing them to become dehydrated or malnourished
  • Failing to administer your loved one’s medication or giving them the wrong dose or the wrong medication
  • Neglecting your loved one’s hygiene by not helping them to bathe daily or providing clean bedding or clothing
  • Failing to turn your loved one regularly to help prevent bedsores from developing
  • Deliberately isolating your loved one away from other residents can cause emotional neglect and trauma
  • And more

The Breached Duty Directly Caused Your Loved One To Suffer Harm

This element is by far the hardest to prove in any injury case, but especially in nursing home negligence cases. You can be sure that both the caregivers involved and the nursing home will likely try to shift blame onto your loved one in some way.

Damages Resulted Due to Negligence

Damages may include your loved one’s pain and suffering, emotional distress or medical costs if there were any physical injuries.

When Should You Consider Seeking Legal Help?

That is a question many people ask. Most often, you should call sooner, not later. Even if you are unsure whether you may have a case, it is better not to wait until it is too late to call an attorney. If you have a case, an attorney can ensure you meet deadlines and gather evidence for your case, including credible witnesses. You do not have to face the legal process on your own.

In New Mexico, victims have three years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury to file a lawsuit for nursing home neglect. We offer a completely free initial consultation. We are prepared to discuss your situation to determine whether you may have legal options.

Dealing with a potential case of nursing home neglect can be tough and emotional. But having a lawyer means there is someone fighting the battle and protecting your legal interests so you can focus on your loved one.

Call PKSD in New Mexico if Your Loved One Has Been Injured Due to Nursing Home Negligence

If you think your loved one has been injured due to nursing home neglect, it is important to act quickly, especially if you think they may be in danger. Keep an eye out for signs of neglect, document everything, and consider getting legal help sooner than later. By taking these steps, you can help to protect your loved one and ensure they receive the care they deserve.

Worried about cost? We make legal representation affordable for everyone by offering a free case review to explain your legal options. We take nursing home neglect cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs to pay. We only get paid if you do.

Call PKSD New Mexico today. (505) 677-7777

Back to top