Caring for an aging loved one can be a emotional and taxing experience. It can present many challenges, and when one is no longer able to do this on their own, it is likely that they will seek out the assistance of nursing home facilities to care for an elderly family member. While many of these facilities are of great quality, providing excellent care and assistance, some fall short of this expectation. And in some unfortunate cases, elderly tenants suffer harm through abuse and neglect.
It is an unfortunate reality that medication errors are very common across the country. These errors are also common in nursing homes and can cost an elderly patient their life, as they are unable to quickly bounce back from an illness like a young adult can.
As of 2018, nearly all of the nursing homes in New Mexico are Medicare or Medicaid certified. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were more than 5,500 residents in the state's nursing homes in 2016. However, a 2018 analysis shows that New Mexico may very well be the worst in the country for serious deficiencies on a per-nursing home basis.
New Mexico residents will be interested in a recent report on nursing home neglect. A recent report, which was possible because the government adopted a new method of collecting staffing data, suggests that the country's nursing home staffing problem may be a bit worse than originally thought, especially on weekends. The results of the report were communicated by at least one major media outlet.
Many people in the Albuquerque area may have heard the term standard of care used in the world of medicine.
As our readers in the Bernalillo area know, our law office represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. The types of cases we handle include situations that are either outright criminal or that involve physical or other forms of abuse. We also handle cases in which, for whatever reason, a facility just does not give a patient the care he needs.
When a person in New Mexico is in a nursing home, they are dependent on the people who care for them to do so promptly and thoroughly. When nursing home professionals neglect this duty and overlook even what seems like a small need or a minor chore, they can cause serious harm to their patients and the families who have entrusted their loved one's care to a nursing home.
Most of the nursing homes in New Mexico accept patients who are on either Medicaid or Medicare, which are both federal health insurance programs. In fact, many of these patients must use one or both programs to survive financially.
Not surprisingly given the increasing life expectancy, and should the trend continue, the number of people over age 85 living in the United States will increase by more than 100 percent by 2050. Right now, people in this age group make up a little under 2 percent of the country's population, but they are expected to constitute 4.5 percent of the population in 2050. With society become less and less integrated around the broader family unit, this means more elderly people in New Mexico and nationwide are going to have to turn to professionals for medical and personal care when they get too old to attend to these needs themselves.
A previous post on this blog talked about the various causes of falls at nursing homes in New Mexico and across the nation. As that post discussed, many of these falls are preventable so long as the patient is getting proper care. In other words, whenever a fall happens at a nursing home, it is appropriate for the family to ask questions and, depending on the answers, hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for the injury.