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Southwest Nursing Home Abuse Laws

Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas comprise the Southwest region of the United States. All of these states have different rules and regulations regarding nursing homes that are meant to establish minimum standards of care and service.

Arizona Nursing Home Laws

Arizona nursing home facilities must follow state guidelines that guarantee a standard of care for residents. State laws require nursing homes to develop personalized care plans for each patient. These plans should be created and staff should begin implementing them in the first two weeks after a patient was admitted.

Facility Requirements in Arizona Nursing Homes

Each nursing home in the state must be safe and accommodating for its residents. Each facility must have anti-slip flooring in bathrooms in order to prevent injuries. Flooring around the nursing home must also incorporate slip-resistant materials. Nursing homes must also provide at least one sink and toilet for every ten residents and at least 40 square feet per person for indoor activities.

Food Services in Arizona Nursing Homes

The nutritional needs of each Arizona nursing home resident must be met by the facility. Nursing homes must have a registered dietician on staff who reviews the menus to make sure they are adequate. Residents are allowed to review their menu and approve it, and nursing homes must provide them for review at least a week in advance.

New Mexico Nursing Home Laws

According to New Mexico state law, all nursing homes must provide emotional and physical privacy to their residents. These minimum standards of privacy extend to all aspects of resident care in the facility except when the resident cannot be left alone because of medical reasons. The medical records and the current medical state of each resident are confidential. The nursing home cannot share this information with others.

Abuse and Restraint in New Mexico

Unless a physician has given a written medical order for physical or chemical restraints, they cannot be applied to a resident. A written order for restraint must also include the medical reason and the length of time that the restraint can be used before another order will be necessary. In cases of emergency, the staff can use restraints before getting the written authorization. After applying the restraint, the staff must get an order from a doctor in order to maintain the restraint.

Oklahoma Nursing Home Laws

State laws in Oklahoma recommend that nursing homes help residents stay active and not spend all day in bed.  Oklahoma nursing home staff members must also help residents maintain their independence and promote independent maintenance of health. Staff members are also required to report changes in a resident’s health and well-being and must record these changes in the medical records.

Oklahoma Electric Monitoring

According to Oklahoma law, residents and their families have the right to install audio and video recording devices into residents’ rooms. The purpose of the law is to give residents more power to prevent abuse and to report abuse after it has occurred. Oklahoma nursing homes are now required to notify all residents and their visitors about their new electronic monitoring rights and must post information about this law on visible signs around the nursing home.

Texas Nursing Home Laws

Nursing homes are regulated primarily by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. State law guarantees that all nursing home residents are treated with dignity and respect and are given a reasonable amount of privacy. Unless medically unavoidable, nursing home staff must take whatever actions they can to maintain the mental, physical, and psychological wellbeing of their residents.

Staffing Requirements in Texas Nursing Homes

Required ratios of staff members and residents vary depending on the time of day, with fewer staff members required at night. According to Texas state law, there should be at least one caregiver for every five residents during daytime operating hours. During evening hours, nursing homes must maintain ratios of at least one caregiver for every ten residents, and at night the required ratio is one caregiver for every 15 residents.


“A Consumer’s Guide to Nursing Homes.” Arizona Department of Health Services. Arizona Department of Health Services. Web. 23 Sep 2013. <http://www.azdhs.gov/als/long-term-care/documents/consumers-guide-nursing-home.pdf>.

Davis, Craig. “New Oklahoma Law Will Provide Increased Protections for Nursing Home Residents.” AARP States. AARP, 8 Jul 2013. Web. 23 Sep 2013. <http://states.aarp.org/new-oklahoma-law-will-provide-increased-protections-for-nursing-home-residents/>.

“Nursing Facilities.” Resources for DADS Service Providers. Department of Aging and Disability Services, 9 Apr 2013. Web. 23 Sep 2013. <http://www.dads.state.tx.us/providers/NF/>.

“Requirements for Long Term Care Facilities.” New Mexico Department of Health. New Mexico Division of Health Improvement . Web. 23 Sep 2013. <http://dhi.health.state.nm.us//eLibrary/hflcregs/07.009.0002.pdf>.

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