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Congress probes nursing home abuse

Many people in New Mexico are deeply concerned about the threat of nursing home abuse or neglect, especially if their own loved ones are cared for in a facility. U.S. Congress is looking into the problem across the country after media attention has shed new light on the types of abuses that people can suffer inside nursing homes. In particular, a woman in a coma for 14 years gave birth at a nursing home, proving that she was subject to rape and sexual assault while in the facility.

The daughters of two elderly women testified before the Senate Committee on Finance on March 6. They shared the stories of the abuse and neglect their mothers suffered, calling for greater regulation and oversight of nursing home operations, including higher screening standards for staff employed at care facilities. Legislators shared in bipartisan outrage after hearing serious stories of nursing home neglect and abuse despite ongoing efforts to crack down on misconduct. One woman said that she repeatedly received assurances that her mother was receiving quality care in a nursing home. However, when her mother was sent to the emergency room, doctors discovered medical signs, including dehydration and elevated sodium levels, that indicated she had been neglected for a long period.

Because nursing home residents are vulnerable and often unable to advocate for themselves or clearly tell their stories, they face an exceptional risk of serious abuse and exploitation. Other nursing homes may be driven by a profit motive at the expense of quality care.

Nursing home abuse and neglect are all too common and can take many forms, from sexual abuse to physical abuse to financial exploitation. Family members of loved ones subjected to neglect or mistreatment in a nursing home may want to turn to a lawyer for help pursuing compensation for the damages done.

Source: Next Avenue, "Congress Looks Into Abuse in Nursing Homes", Liz Seegert, 03/14/2019

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