Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Approximately two million of America’s disabled, infirmed and elderly reside in long-term care centers, assisted-living homes and nursing facilities nationwide. Sadly, neglect and abuse against society’s most vulnerable citizens have become a national concern. In fact, the Albuquerque nursing home neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have handled many cases where New Mexico nursing home residents have suffered from physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse, involuntary seclusion and corporal punishment.
In legal terms, abuse against nursing home residents can be defined as unreasonable confinement, an infliction of injury, intimidation, humiliation, care deprivation, or any type of punishment resulting in physical harm, mental anguish or pain. By law, neglect is different than abuse and can be described as any failure of a caregiver, whether intentional or not, to provide a level of care and services to an individual to ensure they remain free from harm or pain or any failure to prevent a dangerous situation that could result in the resident’s harm, anxiety, injury or death.
Neglect, abuse and mistreatment occurring in nursing facilities has risen substantially in recent years all throughout New Mexico, including in Albuquerque. Out of the more than 667,000 residents living within the boundaries of Bernalillo County, approximately 95,000 are 65 years and older. The percentage of senior citizens in the county has risen substantially in the last decade, which has placed a heavy burden on nursing home administrators and nurses who are overworked, understaffed and are often unable to meet the needs of every resident.Albuquerque Nursing Home Resident Health Concerns
Our New Mexico elder abuse attorneys recognize the challenges nursing facilities and staff members have in providing around-the-clock surveillance, health and hygiene assistance and on-site nursing care. Even so, these facilities are given the duty to ensure that all the needs of every resident are met 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, many nursing homes hire unqualified staff members or provide inadequate training on how to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents.
In an effort to provide assistance to families in need of placing a loved one in a nursing facility, our Albuquerque nursing home lawyers continuously review and assess publicly available information from a variety of nursing home resources including Medicare.gov. We evaluate this information and place our findings on opened investigations, filed complaints, safety hazards and health violations against homes all throughout Bernalillo County.Comparing Albuquerque Area Nursing Facilities
The detailed list below was compiled by our New Mexico elder abuse lawyers outlining information on Albuquerque area nursing facilities that currently maintain substandard ratings when compared other facilities nationwide. In addition, we have added our primary concerns, specific cases, incidences and events that have led to the harm, injury or death of residents. Many families choose to use this valuable information to make an informed decision of where to place a loved one who requires the best level of care.
Our attorneys have compiled data from settlements and jury verdicts across New Mexico to give you an idea as to how cases are valued. Learn more about the cases below:
- New Mexico Medical Error Settlements
- New Mexico Nursing Home Medication Error Settlements
- New Mexico Nursing Home Fall Case Valuations
- New Mexico Nursing Home Bed Sore Case Valuations
- New Mexico Nursing Home Abuse Case Values
PALOMA BLANCA HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CENTER
1509 University Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
A “For-Profit” 119-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Immediately Notify the Resident’s Doctor and Resident’s Legal Representative in a Timely Manner When There Was a Change in the Resident’s Condition
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 10/26/2015, a notation was made by a state investigator during an annual licensure and certification survey concerning the facility’s failure to “notify the physician or the resident’s legal representative of a change in the medical condition of [a resident] review for neglect by not informing the physician of the resident’s high glucose results (over 400) on 10/19/2015, when [the resident] experienced a change in mental status on 10/23/2015.”
The deficient practice was noted by the state investigator that “if the legal representative and physician are not notified of the resident’s high glucose results, they cannot evaluate a if further medical intervention is needed or make decisions regarding treatment. This deficient practice has the potential to result in [the resident] not receiving adequate insulin coverage when needed and experiencing dangerous complications which, when severe and left untreated can lead to unconsciousness, coma and even death.”
The deficient practice was noted by the state investigator after a review of a resident’s 10/19/2015 Admission/Readmission Data Action form that revealed the resident’s cognition as “alert, oriented to person, place and time. Uncontrolled diabetes.” In addition, the surveyor also reviewed the resident’s Physician’s Admission Orders noting that no insulin was to be given if the resident’s blood sugar levels were less than 300.
The notation also instructed the medical team to administer five units of insulin if the resident’s blood sugar levels were greater than 400 and to call the resident’s medical doctor. Other instructions included giving the resident juice and other medications both in the bloodstream and subcutaneously.
A review of the resident’s 10/19/2015 Daily Skilled Nurse’s Notes revealed that the resident with diabetes mellitus had a blood sugar level of 457. However, “no documentation was found to indicate that the medical director was notified of [the resident’s] high blood sugar levels.”
An interview was conducted at 2:35 PM on 10/23/2015 with the facility’s Physician Assistant who stated that “he was not aware of any interruption in medication or high glucose levels, but then when he spoke to the resident this morning, she complained that she was not getting her medications.” The Physician Assistant also stated that “he was not informed of any incident in the morning with the resident being lethargic or minimally responsive.”
An interview was conducted with the resident who stated that in regards to her diabetes “I have terrible sugars. They fluctuate. Like this morning, [the staff] couldn’t wake me up. They were beating me up in the chest.” The resident was referring to the nurse and said: “I couldn’t wake her up”. The resident stated that “he was scared because he couldn’t wake me up. He was punching me in the chest. I told him he was hurting me; it was causing me not to breathe. It was because I had low blood sugar.”
An interview was conducted at 2:28 PM on the same day, 10/23/2015 with the facility’s Unit Manager who stated that “at about 7:30 AM, he was paged to [the resident’s] room and that the resident was slow to respond, was tracking with her eyes, but was lethargic.” The Unit Manager also stated that “he tapped her on the chest to see how she was responding.”
A few minutes later at 2:30 PM, the state surveyor interviewed the facility’s Registered Nurse providing the resident care who stated that “she followed the Unit Manager [into the resident’s] room at the time of the incident but did not check the resident’s [blood glucose levels] and that she would typically only check this if the resident lost consciousness.”
In addition, the Registered Nurse “stated that she also didn’t check the [blood glucose levels] because this was done on the night shift.” However, the Registered Nurse “was unable to recall what the [blood glucose] reading had been and was unable to provide documentation of the result [… stating that] ‘I should have retaken it’. The Registered Nurse also stated, “that neither the provider nor the son [who was POA (power of attorney)] was notified of the incident with [the resident] being lethargic and unresponsive.”
Our Albuquerque nursing home neglect attorneys recognize that failing to immediately notify the resident’s doctor and legal representative when there is a change in the resident’s condition could place their life in immediate jeopardy. The deficient practice by the nursing staff at Paloma Blanca Health and Rehabilitation Center might be considered negligence or mistreatment because their actions fail to follow the facility’s 11/30/2014 policy title: Resident Abuse Policy and Procedure that reads in part:
“Neglect: Failure to notify the resident’s legal representative in the event of a single change in the resident’s physical, mental or emotional condition that a prudent person would recognize.”
5901 Ouray Road NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87120
A “For-Profit” 120-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 1 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce a Program That Investigates, Controls or Maintains Infection from Spreading throughout the Facility That Could Cause Immediate Jeopardy to All Residents
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 06/30/2015, a notation was made during an annual licensure and certification survey by a state investigator concerning the facility’s failure to “maintain an effective Infection Control Program to ensure a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment to help prevent the spread and transmission of contagious disease.”
The deficient practice was noted by the state investigator who noted that the failure involved isolation issues where one resident “was chronic Clostridium difficile (C. diff) [a highly contagious bacterium infection known to cause a variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, intestinal damage, fever and severe fluid loss] and active loose stools in a Contact Isolation room living with another resident who does not have [Clostridium difficile].”
The surveyor also noted that three residents were sharing the same bathroom with the resident with highly contagious Clostridium difficile. A separate failure was also noted in that the “staff was not wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include gowns and gloves prior to entering the [resident’s] isolation room.”
Our Albuquerque nursing home neglect lawyers recognize it failing to develop, implement and enforce programs that control or maintain infection from spreading throughout the facility could place all residents in immediate jeopardy. The deficient practice by the nursing staff at Ladera Center could be considered mistreatment or negligence because their actions fail to follow established procedures and protocols enforced by both federal and state nursing home regulatory nursing home agencies.
THE RIO AT LAS ESTANCIAS
3620 Las Estancias Dr. SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87105
A “For-Profit” 120-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce Policies That Forbid Mistreatment, Neglect and Abuse of Residents That Lead to Immediate Jeopardy
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 09/30/2015, a state surveyor made a notation during an annual licensure and certification survey concerning the facility’s failure to “ensure that resident and family allegations of neglect and mistreatment were investigated and acted upon. Without [taking appropriate action], the facility could not ensure that residents remain free of retaliation or harm.” The failure by the administration and nursing staff at the Rio at Las Estancias “resulted in the immediate Jeopardy” at the facility.
The state surveyor also recognized the facility’s failure “to follow up on written complaints from residents and family members regarding mistreatment and neglect” that involve seven residents at the facility. The deficient practice the nursing home “is likely to have resulted in the resident feelings of fear, frustration and dissatisfaction, and a failure to substantiate reports of mistreatment and neglect and take action to prevent further occurrences.”
A complete review was conducted of the 06/19/2015 Grievance/Complaint Report filed by a resident who said a staff member told the resident “I owed them thousands of dollars. I told her I was not able to pay that. She then said, ‘do you like to eat? Do you like to have electricity?’”
The Grievance/Complaint Report also documented that the former Director of Nursing at the facility told the resident, “This is a business we are running. A business. Do you get that?” The resident said they “felt threatened, humiliated, bullied by both women.” The surveyor noted that “an attached Documentation of Facility Follow-Up Form was blank.”
The investigator then reviewed the resident’s 06/25/2015 Grievance/Complaint Report followed by a family member of the resident who stated, “this is the third time I’ve had to personally wash my mother because the nurses are not washing her hair or bathing her. If I have to wash her face that is fine, but I need to know so I can understand what is being paid for. I think I shouldn’t have to put up signs to do this, but will if this is what it takes to get her bathed twice a week.”
The resident’s family member also said, “Imagine sitting in your own filth for weeks, it’s not right. Please let the nurses know she is to be showered on Wednesdays and Saturdays.” During the review, the state surveyor noted that the “attached Documentation of Facility Follow-up form was blank.”
An additional 06/26/2015 type document that had no record author revealed a statement indicating that the resident “reported during care conference yesterday (06/27/2015) that he has some concerns and the treatment he was receiving from the nursing staff.” The statement also indicated that “he has stated that the girls are in the habit of telling him that they will return to help them and they never come back. There is a nurse that does this as well, but he was unable to recall the nurse’s name.”
An additional notation was made in the statement indicating that when the “resident has dropped his ‘reacher’ and just needed someone to pick it up for him, but he had no one answer his call light.” The resident indicated, “they just kept walking by.”
The statement also indicated that the resident’s wife “shared that one evening another resident was in her room yelling for help. She noticed that four staff members were by the nurses’ station and no one was addressing the woman’s cry for help.” The surveyor noted that the attached Documentation of Facility Follow-up form was blank.”
The surveyor conducted a 10:10 AM 09/20/2015 interview with the facility Administrator who stated that “when he started at the facility in July 2015, grievances were scattered all over the Director of Social Services’ desk. None of them had been responded to. Around 2 to 3 weeks ago they were collected from the Director of Social Services. About one week ago, a book for grievances was put together.”
The Administrator also stated that “he was concerned that some of the grievances might have needed to be reported to the state […and] stated that staff are supposed to talk about them in standup meetings […and] said that the grievances were passed out to the department heads but never discussed with other staff.”
Our Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyers recognize that failing to develop, implement and enforce policies that forbid mistreatment, neglect or abuse of residents could place their health and life in immediate jeopardy. The deficient practice by the nursing staff and Administrator at Rio at Las Estancias might be considered negligence or mistreatment because their actions failed to follow established procedures and protocols involving grievances and complaints enforced by both federal and state nursing home regulatory agencies.
500 Louisiana Boulevard Ne
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108
A “For-Profit” 369-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Provide All the Necessary Care and Services so That the Resident Can Maintain Their Highest Well-Being and Avoid Actual Harm
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 10/06/2015, a complaint investigation was opened against the facility for its failure to “follow a physician’s orders.” As a part of the complaint investigation, it was noted that the facility also failed to provide adequate care to five residents by “not performing wound care for an infected surgical wound and; not implementing a Care Plan intervention to check vital signs every shift monitor for infection.” The deficient practice of the nursing staff at Princeton Place “resulted in a failure of the surgical wound to heal without infection” that caused a life-threatening complication.
As part of the investigation, the state surveyor reviewed the resident’s TAR (Treatment Administration Record) that revealed that “no wound care was completed” during the time frame of the record as per physician’s orders.
The investigator conducted an interview with the facility’s Wound Nurse who stated that “the resident’s amputation wound was not progressing well at all and that she felt that the treatment was too aggressive given the resident’s infection and overall declining health status.”
An additional part of the interview revealed that the Wound Nurse stated: “if wound care is not performed, this should be documented in the progress notes or wound assessment notes.” However, the Wound Nurse “was unable to say whether wound care had occurred, was unable to provide documentation to indicate that wound care had occurred and was unable to provide documentation to indicate the reason that wound care was not performed.”
Our New Mexico elder abuse nursing home neglect law firm recognizes that failing to provide necessary care and services to ensure that a resident’s highest well-being is maintained could cause actual harm. The deficient practice of the nursing staff at Princeton Place might be considered negligence or mistreatment because their actions fail to follow established protocols enforced by federal and state nursing home regulators.
THERESA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER
7900 Constitution Avenue NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
A “For-Profit” 134-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Provide a Level of Care and Services to Ensure That Every Resident’s Dignity and Respect of Individuality Is Maintained or Enhanced
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 11/05/2015, a notation was made by a state investigator during an annual licensure and certification survey concerning the facility’s failure to “promote resident’s privacy and dignity.” The deficient practice by the nursing staff at Saint Theresa Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center affected five residents at the facility.”
The facility failure was noted by a state investigator who recognized that the facility was “not maintaining bathroom privacy, and [was] ignoring a resident at the nurses’ station.” The investigator notes that “this deficient practice has the potential to lower resident’s self-esteem, and to cause feelings of frustration and humiliation.”
The investigator also interviewed a resident at 9:16 AM on 11/03/2015 who stated “it is privacy and dignity had been violated by [a Certified Nursing Assistant] on two occasions. Both times, she had entered his bathroom while he was on the toilet, in order to obtain a pair of gloves from the dispenser. He stated that he also feels the facility’s physician is unprofessional, stating he comes in and asks ‘did you poop today?’ Instead of “Did you have a bowel movement?’”
The state surveyor also made an observation at 2:20 PM on 11/04/2015 at the East Nurses’ Station where a resident “was noted to approach the desk where [a Licensed Practical Nurse working at the facility] was talking on the telephone.” At that time, the resident “waited approximately four minutes at the desk in her wheelchair, directly across the desk from the [Licensed Practical Nurse while the nurse] finisher telephone call. Upon completion, [the Licensed Practical Nurse] got up from the desk without acknowledging [the resident] or asking what she needed.”
Our Albuquerque elder abuse law firm recognizes that failing to provide a level of care and services that will ensure the dignity and respect of individuality of every resident in the facility could diminish their self-esteem. The deficient practice of the nursing staff at Saint Theresa Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center might be considered negligence or mistreatment because their actions fail to follow acceptable standards of care enforced by state and federal nursing home regulatory agencies.
JOHN HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER
2216 Lester Drive NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112
A “For-Profit”140 -certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility
Overall Rating – 3 out of 5 possible stars
Primary Concerns –
Failure to Ensure That Every Resident Is Free from Sexual Abuse
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 11/20/2015, a complaint investigation was opened against the facility for its failure to “ensure that residents were free from physical battery and sexual abuse in two locked dementia units. Residents known to exhibit abusive behavior were not monitored to ensure that vulnerable residents were not abused.” The deficient practice by the nursing staff and administration at St. John Health Care and Rehabilitation Center resulted in an Immediate Jeopardy of all residents.
The state investigator noted that the facility failed “to keep residents free from physical or sexual abuse by a resident with a known history of battery or sexual assault.” This affected three residents “on the locked units as identified on the Roster/Sample Matrix provided by the facility on 11/13/2015.”
The investigator also noted that “severely impaired residents on two locked dementia units, who are incapable of giving, were subject to touching by other residents.” It was noted that “this deficient practice subjected vulnerable residents to assault, which were likely to cause feelings of fear, distress and humiliation.”
The state investigator conducted an 8:15 AM 11/13/2015 observation of the facility’s 200-unit dining room where a resident “was observed to be sitting in his wheelchair, behind [another resident].” During the observation, the first resident “was noted to be massaging [the other’s] back and shoulders, a behavior which occurred periodically over 12 minutes. During this time, [3 Certified Nurses’ Aides] assigned to the 200 unit were frequently in and out of the dining room”. None of the Certified Nurses’ Aides addressed the behavior of the resident.
A couple hours later 10:42 AM, the state investigator conducted an interview with the facility’s Director of Nursing who stated that “the facility was currently evaluating residents on the locked 100- and 200-units to determine if the residents were properly placed. She stated, ‘I really don’t believe there has been any real monitoring of behaviors here (at this facility)’.”
That afternoon at 12:20 PM, during an observation in the 200-dining room, the resident “was noted to propel his wheelchair behind [another resident].” At that time, the resident reached under the other resident’s “right arm and began stroking his right chest. This behavior was noted twice within five minutes.” On a second occasion, [the first resident] moved his hand down [torso the second resident], reaching below the waist, before withdrawing it.” The surveyor making the observation noted that the second resident “appeared oblivious to the touch.” The Certified Nursing Assistant was in the dining room and “was not observed to intervene.”
The investigator then reviewed the first resident’s Medical records and found “a nurse’s note dated 10/19/2015 stating that “that resident] had been medicated after becoming verbally and physically abusive, chasing another resident down the hallway, and hitting a nurse.” A subsequent 2:29 PM 11/13/2015 interview was conducted with a Certified Nursing Assistant who stated that “he had seen [that resident] touching other residents’ torsos on several occasions in the past. He stated that [another resident] was frequently the subject of [the first resident’s] physical advances.” The Certified Nursing Assistant stated that “when he sees the behavior, he attempts to redirect the resident.”
An interview was conducted by the state investigator at 3:44 PM on the same day with the facility’s Director of Nursing revealed that “she was advised of an episode of inappropriate contact between residents that day (11/13/2015).” The Director of Nursing stated that the resident “had been found in a resident room on the 100-unit with a female resident with his face near her breasts. She stated that [that resident] was being moved to the 200-unit, an all-male unit, that day (11/13/2015.”
The Director of Nursing also stated that “her expectation of the nursing staff would be the that they would intervene if they observed inappropriate contact between residents. She again stated that she was not sure whether or not the facility had a system for monitoring problematic resident behaviors.”
Our Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorneys recognize that failing to ensure that every resident is free from physical battery and sexual assault could place their health and well-being in jeopardy. The deficient practice by the nursing staff at St. John Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center might be considered additional abuse or mistreatment because their actions failed to follow established protocols enforced by federal and state nursing home regulatory agencies.Common Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Most of the Baby Boomer generation has finally reached their retirement years, where many require professional supervision and constant medical attention. In many cases, families have no other option than to a place a loved one in a nursing facility to ensure they receive the highest level of care by the most competent nurses, doctors and nurses’ aides. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse have become significant problems in nursing facilities all throughout the state.
While the most common type of physical abuse happening in nursing facilities is the result of some type of neglect, many victims of mistreatment are injured by verbal assault, medication errors and the spread of infection. Many nursing homes control their elderly population using antipsychotic drugs in an effort to calm the residents down who may be volatile, confused or agitated.
Other residents become the victim of unauthorized physical restraints where the nursing staff chooses to use belts and straps to lock the resident into their wheelchair or bed. In some cases, these restraints are used in an effort to ensure that the resident does not fall due to a lack of supervision or as a form of corporal punishment.
Our New Mexico elder abuse attorneys recognize that no type of abuse is acceptable in a nursing environment against the elderly, disabled or infirmed. Many of the cases we handle filed by family members and victims seeking financial recompense and legal accountability involve:
- Physical Abuse – Any unnecessary or avoidable act of force against a nursing home resident could be considered physical abuse. The most common types of abuse involve hitting, beating, slapping, kicking or handling the resident in a rough manner.
- Sexual Assault – While it is unthinkable to comprehend that anyone would sexually assault a vulnerable senior or disabled individual, it does happen. The sad truth is that many caregivers misuse their power of authority over the resident and sexually assaulting through inappropriate touching, forced nudity and other unspeakable acts.
- Verbal Mistreatment – Many nursing home residents are emotionally abused to the point where they are traumatized with anxiety, distress or depression. Many of these cases involve verbal humiliation, ridicule, threatening language, shouting, blaming, ignoring or isolating the resident from others.
- Financial Exploitation or Fraud – Every piece of personal property belonging to the resident, including their medications must be protected by the nursing facility and staff members. Unfortunately, fraudulent activity occurs everywhere, even in nursing homes, where funds, property, items, jewelry and even narcotic medications are stolen from the resident by employees, visitors or other residents at the facility.
Protecting a loved one from being injured or killed through neglect or abuse can be difficult because many family members live too far away to visit often enough to serve as a legal advocate. Because of that, they often hire personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases. Having legal representation ensures that the loved one can be removed from the situation to receive the highest level of care while holding those responsible for the harm both legally and financially answerable to their unacceptable behavior.
It is a tough decision for every family member to make when placing a loved one in a nursing facility. This is true whether it is a wife, husband, father, mother, parent, grandparent or another relative. Being assured that a loved one is receiving the best medical care and hygiene assistance in a safe and loving environment is not always possible. If you have any evidence or suspicion that your loved one has been injured, harmed or hurt by caregivers, other residents or visitors while residing in a nursing facility it is imperative to hire a reputable personal injury attorney who specializes in abuse and neglect cases.
The Albuquerque nursing home neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have represented many New Mexico nursing home residents including those residing in Albuquerque, South Valley, Sandia Heights, Sandia Park, Rio Rancho, Coralles, West Mesa, Taylor Ranch and Bernalillo County.
We encourage you to contact our law offices today at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation full case consultation. Our lawyers will review every aspect of your case and provide legal options on how to proceed. We remain passionate in playing our role as advocates to ensure our clients are treated with the compassion, respect and dignity they deserve. We accept all nursing home neglect, personal injury and wrongful death cases through contingency fee arrangements, meaning no upfront fees or retainers are required.
For additional information on New Mexico laws and information on nursing homes look here.
If you are looking for information on a specific facility or an attorney, please see links below to respective locality pages.