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Oversight is key to preventing nursing home abuse

It can be difficult when a family in New Mexico decides that a loved one needs the care and supervision a nursing home is supposed to provide. Inevitable concerns will arise. One factor that few consider is that the facility will be negligent or outright abusive. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse does happen, and it can cause injury and death.

Statistics analyzed by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, indicate that nursing home abuse is widespread. While nursing homes are expected to prioritize having a safe environment and caring for residents, the problem is getting worse. Approximately 1.4 million people are in nursing homes across the nation. With around 15,000 such facilities, it can be difficult to keep track of them and catch every incident. However, to stop the mistreatment and negligence, greater vigilance is required.

Annual inspections of nursing homes are done by state agencies in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The GAO found that there was a nationwide rise in abuse and other incidents between 2013 and 2017. Although researchers acknowledge that nursing home abuse does not happen frequently, there are still strategies that the GAO suggests would be effective in avoiding and preventing it. That includes information about the type of abuse and the person who committed it. That information is currently unavailable to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

It is reasonable for family members and nursing home residents to expect intensive investigations when there are allegations of nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, as this study shows, oversight is sorely lacking. Families need to be aware of the conditions and treatment at a nursing home and watch for signals that abuse might be happening. If nursing home negligence is suspected, calling for help from an experienced legal firm may be vital to recover compensation.

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