What is institutional neglect?

If you or a loved one have been committed to a New Mexico facility for your own health and well-being, you trust the facility employees to provide the best in care with your welfare in mind. Facility employees should uphold the highest standards of ethics and compassion, whether the facility is an elder care facility or nursing home, a mental health care facility, a substance abuse rehab facility or any other type of adult care and assisted living facility. But what happens when those ethical standards are not met?

This type of abuse is known as institutional neglect. The National Center for Biotechnology Information's website provides an extract from a book discussing elder abuse in specific by state, and cites New Mexico's standard for institutional neglect as the failure to provide adequate care and treatment while the resident is within the facility's care. That means that if you or your loved one have not been provided with medication, healthcare, sanitation services, food, hydration, clothing, shelter or other provisions adequate for essential quality of life, the institution housing is you is guilty of neglect.

This can be particularly egregious if this behavior results in illness or injury to you or your loved one. Institutional neglect may be a one-time incident between one resident and one caretaker, or can be an extended pattern effected by one or more caretakers or the entire institution, against one or all residents. Neglect includes not only failure to provide proper care, but failure to prevent harm. If caretakers have not taken reasonable precautions to prevent potentially dangerous situations, they can be guilty of neglect.

This blog is an educational reference only and does not constitute legal advice.

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