The New Mexico Department of Health issued New Mexico nursing home laws to regulate the protocols and standard of care for nursing homes. Under these New Mexico nursing home laws, provided services are required to maintain or improve the physical, psychosocial, and mental wellbeing of all residents. These laws dictate several aspects of facility and staff operations, including resident rights, individual care services, medical services, facility requirements, and staffing requirements.
New Mexico Nursing Home Resident Rights
New Mexico nursing home laws provide each resident with a set of basic rights. These rights discuss topics such as privacy, finances, communication with others, use of restraints, and filing grievances. Complete information on New Mexico nursing home laws for resident rights can be obtained from the New Mexico Department of Health.
New Mexico nursing home laws hold that residents are entitled to physical and emotion privacy in regards to treatment, personal needs caring, and living arrangements. Health care case discussion, examination, consultation, and treatment must remain confidential and discreetly discussed.
Residents are permitted to have unrestricted and private communications their family members, physician, attorney, and other individuals unless the medically contraindicated by the resident’s physician. Communications with an attorney or public officials may not be restricted under any circumstances.
Abuse and Restraints
Residents must be free from any form of physical or mental abuse. Chemical or physical restraints may only be used under written authorization from a physician. Physical restraints are defined under New Mexico nursing home laws as any device, garment, or article that is difficult for the resident to remove and interferes with free movement.
Written authorization for physical restraints must include a specified and limited time period. This restraint authorization must also be documented in resident medical records. In emergencies, physical restraints may be used to protect the property, the resident, or other individuals. In these cases, the facility must obtain a physician’s authorization to continue use within 12 hours.
Individual Care for Residents
New Mexico nursing home laws require that each resident receives care based on his or her individual needs. All residents must remain well-groomed, comfortably clean, and free of odors. Beds must be made daily. A complete bed linen change is required as needed, but once a week at minimum.
Personalized Plan of Care
Facility services must operate based on an individual plan of care for each resident. This plan of care must be developed by a physician or another licensed health specialist within two weeks of admission to the nursing home facility. The plan of care should include measurable goals, as well as specific time limits to attain each goal.
Diet and Nourishment
Each resident’s diet should reflect physician orders, as stated in the individual care plan. When patients are deemed capable of using adaptive self-help devices, they must be properly trained to use them so that eating independence is promoted. Residents who require assistance must be assisted as necessary.
Fluids must be offered to adequately prevent dehydration. Each resident’s fluid and food intake should be monitored and documented. Abnormal eating patterns should be reported to the nurse, as well as the resident’s dietician or physician.
New Mexico Nursing Staff Requirements
New Mexico nursing home laws state certain requirements for types and numbers staff members which should be present at certain times of the day. These New Mexico nursing home laws aim to ensure that each resident receives adequate care and attention based on his or her comprehensive care plan. By ensuring that residents are properly tended to, cases of neglect and abuse become less likely.
New Mexico nursing home laws on staffing state:
- Licensed staff requirements
- One director of nursing (DON) is required to work full-time
- One registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) charge nurse should be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- The DON may act as the charge nurse
- Direct care staff requirements
- One nursing staff member must be on duty at all times
- 2.5 hours per resident day, averaging seven days a week
- Direct care staff hours must be performed by either the DON, assistant DON, or the nursing department director
- The ratio of staff members to residents should average one staff member for every nine or 10 residents
- For example, laws may permit: one direct care staff member for every seven residents during the day, one staff member for every 10 residents during evenings, and one staff member for every 12 residents during nights
Harrington, Charlene. “Nursing Home Staffing Standards in State Statutes and Regulations.” PAS Center. Center for Personal Assistance Services, n.d. Web. 24 Sep 2013. <http://www.pascenter.org/documents/Staffing_regulations_12_10.pdf>.
“Requirements for Long Tern Care Facilities.” New Mexico Department of Health. New Mexico Division of Health Improvement . Web. 24 Sep 2013.