Nursing home sexual abuse is unexpected, shocking and appalling to family members who have entrusted the nursing home to take care of their loved one. Elderly nursing home residents are easy targets for sexual abusers because they are weak and often defenseless. In many instances, victims of nursing home sexual abuse are chosen because their medical conditions inhibit their ability to communicate with others and express what’s happening to them. For instance, residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s may have a difficult time remembering sexual abuse and also be unable to communicate what happened to them. When elderly residents cannot protect themselves or communicate, the likelihood of becoming a victim of nursing home sexual abuse increases.
Nursing home law requires that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that receive federal funds report suspected crimes and abuse against residents. Although nursing homes are required to report abuse to state survey agencies, facility administrators are often reluctant to file reports for fear of adverse publicity or other state sanctions. Other times, allegations of sexual abuse may go unreported due to fears that the claim may be false. Failure to do so is in violation of the law. To be clear, if there is reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse of a resident it must be reported to the state survey agency – even if the abuser denies the allegation.
In addition to these reporting requirements, nurse aides must be trained in dementia care and resident abuse prevention. Further, nursing home laws prohibit nursing home from employing persons convicted of crimes against residents or nursing staff who are found to neglect or abuse residents.
If you suspect that your loved one was a victim of sexual abuse you should report it to the nursing home administrators immediately. Then contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases and has the ability and know how to investigate a claim. Call Brent Wieand at (267) 443-8487 for a free, no-obligation consultation.