Physical and Sexual Assault at New Mexico Nursing Homes

elderly woman with bruisesNursing home residents are easy targets for abuse because they are dependent on staff for most, if not all, their needs. They are often too physically weak to protect themselves or too cognitively impaired or afraid to speak up about what is happening.

Physical and sexual abuse of nursing home residents inflicts severe physical and emotional harm. Victims often experience depression, anxiety and a reduced quality of life.

If your loved one has been sexually or physically abused in a nursing home, contact PKSD New Mexico. Our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers can provide you with the guidance you need in this complex and difficult situation. Our firm has secured millions for nursing home abuse victims.

Your initial consultation is completely free. Call us at 505-677-7777 .

Understanding Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Physical abuse refers to the use of physical force that often causes bodily injury, pain or physical impairment. Physical abuse in nursing homes is perpetrated by nurses, caregivers, staff members and potentially visitors and friends or family members of the victim.

Examples of Physical Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

These are some of the common examples of physically abusing nursing home residents:

  • Hitting or Slapping: This includes any form of striking a resident, whether with hands or objects. For instance, slapping a resident across the face for not following instructions or using a belt to hit a resident for being too slow during mealtimes.
  • Pushing or Shoving: This involves forcefully moving or jostling residents, which could cause them to fall to the ground or suffer bruising and soft tissues. For example, a frustrated nurse could shove a resident into their room or violently push a resident down into a wheelchair.
  • Improper Use of Restraints: Physical restraints should only be used as a last resort and under strict medical supervision. When staff members are too forceful with restraints, they could cause serious injuries, like pressure sores.
  • Roughly Handling Residents: For example, staff members may shove a resident into a wheelchair or be too rough when helping them get up from a bed.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home residents often cannot advocate for themselves. They may also be afraid to speak up out of fear of retaliation. That is why friends and loved ones often need to be proactive to identify signs of abuse and take action to put an end to it.

Common signs of physical abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns
  • Frequent falls or injuries that cannot be explained
  • Sudden changes in behavior or fearfulness around certain staff members
  • Visible marks from restraints or pressure sores
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Change in personality

Families and caregivers should regularly visit and check on their loved ones to identify potential signs of abuse. Ask them how they are being treated and watch their interactions with staff.

Sexual Abuse at New Mexico Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, elderly nursing home residents are vulnerable to sexual predators because many of them are physically or cognitively compromised. They may be unable to speak up because of a brain injury or other medical condition like Parkinson’s or dementia.

Sexual abuse consists of any forced sexual contact like unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sexual coercion, nude photography and sexual harassment. This includes instances where nursing home residents are forced, coerced, deceived or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact.

Examples of sexual abuse include:

  • Fondling a resident during bathing or when helping them get dressed
  • Forcing a resident to perform sex acts on someone else
  • Making a resident watch pornographic movies or look at pornographic content
  • Watching and filming residents bathing or getting undressed
  • Posting pictures or videos of elderly residents of a sexual nature online

A nursing home resident can be sexually abused by staff members, other residents, strangers or family members in various situations.

Sometimes sexual abuse happens because the facility failed to conduct background checks on potential employees. They may have hired someone with a criminal record and a history of sexual assault or abuse.

How To Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse at a Nursing Home

Unfortunately, much of the responsibility for preventing sexual abuse at nursing homes rests with the facility. They need to hire qualified staff members and avoid hiring people with a history of physical or sexual abuse.

However, you have a significant role to play as you can look for signs of sexual abuse and intervene to protect your loved one. Common signs of sexual abuse of the elderly at nursing homes include:

  • Unexplained difficulty walking or sitting
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or genital infections
  • Unexplained genital irritation, injury or redness
  • Presence of sperm in the vagina or anus
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Stained or bloody sheets
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvic area
  • Verbal complaints about abuse
  • Engaging in unusual sexual behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rope burns on wrists or ankles
  • Fear, stress, anxiety or a combative reaction when a specific staff member approaches to assist with bathing, dressing, or toileting

If you notice any of these signs, report the incident to the police immediately and seek emergency medical assistance.

While the criminal justice system can punish abusers, the system does not provide compensation for your loved ones physical and emotional damages. Victims should consider contacting an experienced lawyer to help them take action in the civil justice system.

Call PKSD New Mexico Today to Discuss What Happened to Your Loved One

At PKSD New Mexico, we are dedicated to helping nursing home neglect and abuse victims hold nursing homes accountable and secure compensation.

Our legal team combines experienced attorneys with dedicated nurses, medical experts, investigators and paralegals. We bring our considerable resources to bear for each case to offer every client the comprehensive support and advocacy they deserve. We also represent victims at no upfront fees.

Contact our office to schedule a free consultation: 505-677-7777 .

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