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Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health is responsible for the nursing home laws within New Mexico. The laws are there to ensure that the facilities are improving or maintaining the psychosocial, physical, and mental well being of all residents. The laws cover staff and facility operations, as well as individual care services, rights of the residents, medical services, and facility requirements.

Resident Rights in New Mexico Nursing Homes

The laws in New Mexico provide all of the residents of nursing homes with basic rights that include privacy, the right to individual care, communication, filing grievances, and the freedom from the use of restraints.


All of the residents of nursing home facilities in New Mexico have a right to emotional and physical privacy when it comes to living arrangements, treatment, and care of personal needs. All health care matters including examination and treatment are confidential and discreet.


Residents have the right to private and unrestricted communication with family, attorneys, doctor, and others unless the physician says there is a medical reason to prevent communication. When it comes to communication with public officials and attorneys, there is no restriction regardless of reason.

Individual Care

Residents are entitled to receive care based on his or her individualized needs. The residents are to be well groomed, clean, and free of odor. The beds need to be made each day, and linen changes are to occur as needed and no less than once a week.

Restraints and Abuse

Residents of nursing homes are not to be the victim of any type of mental or physical abuse. The facilities can only use restraints in certain conditions with the authorization of a doctor. A physical restraint is any type of device or garment that makes it impossible for the resident to move freely and that is difficult to remove. In the case of written authorization for the restraints, they need to include a specified and limited time. All restraint use requires documentation. In the event of an emergency, it is possible to use the physical restraints to protect the resident and others. In the event of an emergency, the facility still needs a physician’s authorization to continue using restraints after 12 hours of use.

Personalized Plan of Care

Each resident is required by New Mexico law to an individual plan of care developed by a physician or another licensed health specialist. This plan needs to be complete and in place within two weeks of the resident coming to the facility. The plan should include measureable goals with time limits.

Dietary Requirements

The resident’s diet needs to be individualized and needs to match the doctor’s orders as per the individual care plan. It is important to promote eating independence whenever possible, and to provide assistance when needed. Fluids must be available to provide proper hydration. If any eating patterns are abnormal, it is vital to report it to the physician or dietician.

Nursing Staff Requirements in New Mexico

The laws are specific in the number of staff members and the type of staff members that need to be on duty through the day. This ensures proper and safe care for the residents and it can help to reduce the cases of neglect and abuse.

New Mexico staff requirements include:

  • One director of nursing to work full time
  • One RN or LPN charge nurse available 24/7
  • The director of nursing can act as the charge nurse
  • One nursing staff member needs to be on duty at all times
  • Direct care staff hours performed by director of nursing, assistant director, or nursing department director
  • There should be one staff member for every nine to ten residents.
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