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The role of staffing levels in nursing home abuse cases

Those who have to put loved ones in nursing homes in New Mexico and throughout the country may go through an emotionally draining experience. It is easy to doubt whether a parent or grandparent is getting the care that he or she needs. A study from the New York Times and Kaiser Health News reveals that those misgivings aren't just the result of an overactive imagination.

The study found that there weren't enough registered nurses on duty and that assistants didn't work consistent hours. This may result in patients being neglected, which is different than outright abuse. Those who are considering putting a loved one in a nursing home are advised to ask about staffing levels on weekends. Neglect may manifest itself in failing to properly feed or bathe a resident. It could also include ignoring a resident when he or she calls for help.

Neglect can turn into abuse depending on what the patient is being put through. For example, abuse could include a patient being asked to give a nurse a credit card number or be included in a will. Emotional, physical and even sexual abuse could also be occurring within a nursing facility. Visiting can help individuals find reputable facilities for their loved ones.

If a family member is the victim of nursing home abuse, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the facility where the abuse occurred. Victim statements, personnel records and other documents may be able to show that a resident was not properly cared for. The victim's family might obtain compensation to help pay any healthcare or other costs related to the abuse or neglect. An attorney may help a family protect the health and legal rights of their loved one.

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