New Mexico residents depend on nursing home staff to provide competent, professional care to their loved ones. However, it doesn’t always turn out that way. Incidences of nursing home abuse and neglect are relatively common throughout the United States, and knowing the signs can help protect family members from serious harm.

According to experts, nursing home neglect is one of the most common forms of elder abuse in the country. Neglect takes place when staff members fail to take care of a resident’s basic needs, including hygiene, mobility and nutritional needs. Signs of neglect may include dirty or disheveled clothing, lack of bathing, poor dental hygiene, messy hair and unclipped nails. Other signs of neglect may include unsanitary living conditions, such as unwashed bedding, a dirty bathroom or an unsanitary kitchen.

People who have lost weight or experienced other health issues could be suffering from malnutrition or dehydration while those who have lost mobility could be suffering from lack of exercise. If a person is being physically abused, he or she may suffer unexplained injuries, including bruises, broken bones and head trauma. Finally, sudden depression and other psychological issues could be a sign that someone is experiencing mental trauma from neglect or abuse.

New Mexico families who believe their loved ones are suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect could find relief by contacting a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. A lawyer could carefully review staffing and medical records at the facility to gather proof of abuse. This evidence could then be used as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit filed against the nursing home. If the case is successful, the victim could be owed compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and other related damages.