Every New Mexico resident who needs the care provided by a skilled nursing facility must be aware that he or she has legal rights while in the facility. In New Mexico, any instance of nursing home negligence is unacceptable, and all patients opting for such care should know their legal rights so that the care they receive meets those requirements and is not hampered or infringed upon in any manner.
In order to prevent nursing home abuse, an elder or an individual requiring nursing home treatment should be aware of the protections provided by state as well as federal laws. These protections require that proper services be rendered and the care provided meet certain standards.
Federal laws prohibit discrimination in any form against any individual residing in a nursing facility. Skilled nursing facilities must ensure that services meet all requirements provided by U.S. civil rights laws, meaning that no person in a skilled nursing facility can be discriminated against due to race, age, color, disability, national origin or religious beliefs.
Federal laws also mandate that every individual in a facility has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. The laws prohibit abuse and neglect. Every nursing home patient has the right to expect treatment free of verbal, physical, mental or sexual abuse and that personal property will not be misappropriated in any manner. Patients also cannot be placed in isolation without consent or medical necessity.
It is important to note that every person in a nursing facility has the right to be free from physical or chemical restraints under regular conditions. They also have the right to enjoy adequate living arrangements, protection of property, privacy, medical attention and the right to be visited by family and friends.