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How can you avoid nursing home abuse in New Mexico?

Cases of abuse in nursing homes are as prevalent in New Mexico as they are in the rest of the United States. The Department of Health has been proactive about the matter and has been taking an endless number of measures to address the problem of abuse in nursing homes and to prevent them. The Incident Management Bureau has a preventive attitude aimed at improving the quality of services that are available in nursing homes and community-based programs.

The Incident Management Bureau forms a part of the Division of Health Improvement. However, even after the various steps taken by these organizations over the past decade to curb the problem of nursing home abuse, the issue continues to exist. Before making a decision about accepting long-term care services, it is important to understand that nursing homes may not be the only option for a vulnerable person in need of care and support.

Social workers in hospitals as well as discharge planners, nursing homes and home health agencies are among the few institutions that can explain the existing options and assist in arranging for care. Alternative options for a vulnerable individual or an elderly person are community services such as meal programs, senior centers, adult day care, friendly visitor programs, help with bill paying and other financial matters and legal questions and help with transportation and shopping.

Additional options for the elderly seeking care and intending to avoid nursing home abuse include home care, accessory dwelling units, subsidized senior housing, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, respite care and the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly. A local attorney can help navigate these issues.

Source: Medicare.gov, "Alternatives to nursing homes," accessed on Nov. 3, 2014

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