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Flagging system warns of nursing home abuse at facilities

It is never an easy decision for New Mexico residents to place a loved one in a nursing home. Although there can be mixed feelings about doing so, it is frequently for the best, as a person who is elderly or infirm will need a certain level of attention that families cannot provide. Nursing homes are supposed to have trained staff and medical professionals who provide a reasonable standard of care. However, it is an unfortunate truth that some of these facilities have incidents of nursing home abuse.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a Nursing Home Compare website. It has informed consumers that there were issues with neglect, residents being exploited or abused in 5 percent of these facilities. Out of 15,262 nursing homes, that came to 760 icons tagging them. Updated each month, this information is designed to warn people as to whether the facility, they are considering for a loved one is adhering to the necessary requirements to care for residents.

Specific incidents were noted in a Wall Street Journal story, including one Maryland facility where staff did not tell a doctor about a patient whose wound had maggots in it. CMS put the icons on its site after there were reports of a growing number of residents being subjected to abuse and neglect in 2019. Statistically, there has been a worrisome rise in complaints. Since 2011, it has grown from nearly 33 complaints for every 1,000 residents to more than 52 in 2018. Nearly half of the complaints in 2018 were prioritized because of significant danger to the residents.

It is undeniably shocking and upsetting when a person learns that a loved one whose care was entrusted to a nursing home was mistreated. If there were any aftereffects -- emotional, physical, financial -- and the person suffered long-term damage or death because of it, it can be the justification for a lawsuit against the nursing home.

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