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NM's attorney general cracks down on elder abuse in nursing facilities

The Martinez family accused a local nursing home of abusing, saying bed sores contributed to her death. Credit: KFOX14 / CBS4

New Mexico’s attorney general is launching a new campaign to prevent elderly abuse in nursing homes.

The Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is one of many in New Mexico that has been accused of elderly abuse.

One family says they brought their mother to Sagecrest but pulled her out within months.

Michael Martinez and his family are coping with the death of their mother, Lucia Martinez, who was 86 years old and suffered from dementia.

She was admitted to the Sagecrest center, but Martinez said she was miserable there.

“She would tell us that they would not give her her medications on time, that they took the walker away, and she requested the walker back to go use the restroom and they would ignore her,” Martinez said.

After two and a half months, Martinez took his mother out of the home.

Martinez says she was made to stay in bed and would often have accidents.

“From that, she developed bed sores, which ultimately was a contributing factor in her passing away,” Martinez said.

“Her death certificate stated that the contributing factor was the bedsores,” Martinez said.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is trying to stop elderly abuse in nursing homes.

“Protecting taxpayer dollars and care for vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals in our community is a priority for our office,” said Attorney General Balderas. “We are committed to developing innovative ways to address these problems, and work toward a more proactive model.” http://www.nmag.gov/media.aspx

He’s ordered the state to review documents and evidence of abuse that would lead to an investigation on any facility.

“We also look at whether or not they are being cared for appropriately, according to their care plan, and we also look at a variety of injuries and things of that nature,” said Richard Chavez, the AG’s special agent supervisor.

Once enough evidence is gathered, the attorney general's office will try to prosecute offending homes.

The Martinez family is hopeful other people will have a better experience than their mother.

“Our families aren’t just money, because that’s what they see, but they need to provide the care and the personnel to provide that care and not look at it as just another number. It’s our mom, it’s our grandmothers, fathers, uncles, it’s our family,” Martinez said.

I reached out to Sagecrest this afternoon for a comment but they have not responded.

To file a complaint of eldery abuse visit http://www.nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspx


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