A lot of New Mexico residents rely on nursing homes to provide their elderly loved ones with care and treatment that they deserve. It’s a large responsibility for nursing homes and their staff to take on, which is why the nursing home industry is heavily regulated by the State. These laws and regulations are meant to protect nursing home residents and ensure that they receive adequate care, but the fact of the matter is that all too often nursing homes fail to abide by these rules, regulations, and laws. The results can be devastating to nursing home residents, leaving them suffering from serious injuries and, in the worst cases, death.
One extraordinarily important regulation pertaining to New Mexico nursing homes is that pertaining to staffing. Without the appropriate number of staff available at a nursing home, patients may be at a heightened risk of nursing home abuse and neglect. Therefore, the State has mandated certain staffing levels for the various types of nursing homes seen across the state. Here are some examples:
- Director of Nursing – there must be one of these at skilled care facility and intermediate care facility to supervise nursing functions and to develop standard policies and practices.
- Charge Nurse – one of these nurses must be on duty at all times in skilled care facilities, while one must be on duty during each round at an intermediate care facility. These individuals, which may include a Director of Nursing, oversee the provision of nursing services and delegate duties to the nursing staff.
- Nursing staff – the minimum number of nurses that must be on duty depend on the type of nursing home and the number of patients. In short, each patient should be allotted slightly more than two hours of care, which may equate to one nurse per every eight to 12 patients. Recognize that this is a rough calculation and that each case needs to be carefully analyzed to determine if nursing staff levels are appropriate and in compliance with regulations.
Improper staffing can lead to nursing home abuse and neglect. Therefore, those who have either suffered harm in a nursing home as well as those who have had a loved one suffer harm in a nursing home should consider discussing their matter with an attorney of their choosing. Accountability and compensation may be obtainable if negligence and/or abuse can be shown, which may be supported by putting forth evidence of regulation violations.