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Resident rights and protections in New Mexico nursing homes

Residents of a state-certified nursing home in New Mexico have federal and state laws to provide certain rights so they can receive the best care and services. Nursing homes residents, usually senior citizens, have the privilege to make their own decisions and to maintain their privacy.

When residing in a nursing home, older people should ensure that they are always treated with respect and dignity and that a reasonable standard of care is offered. Nursing home residents should not experience any discrimination by any resident or worker in the nursing home. Discrimination can be reported to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services.

The most important personal right of a nursing home resident is to be free from abuse and neglect. Cases of nursing home abuse continue to surface and residents should make sure they do not fall victim to mental, sexual, physical or verbal abuse. Any kind of negligence by medical professionals can be reported to the state's office of nursing home administration.

Apart from that, a resident has the right to make complaints if he or she has been mistreated by nursing home staff. Any complaint should be addressed within five working days of the incident. If a resident or family member experiences or notices any medical error, a liability law suit can be filed or a complaint registered against a particular doctor or the nursing home.

Furthermore, a nursing home resident has the right to spend time with visitors, manage his or her finances and have access to medical and other records. In short, residents have the right to live the way they would in their own homes, except under the supervision of medical experts. Any resident who is denied the medical or healthcare services that they need or deserve has the right to file a complaint against the nursing home.

However, before taking action against any nursing home for negligence, it would be a wise decision to seek advice from an attorney who will help a resident understand each and every right and suggest the best way to resolve issues.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "Your resident rights and protection," Dec. 2013

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