Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Dec 22

More than 15,000 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. offer care and shelter to at least 1.5 million elders, mentally incapacitated young adults, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and victims of accidents requiring therapy and rehabilitation. Though sending a loved one to a nursing home, where his/her needs is believed will be provided, is a common practice, many Americans are beset by worries due to widespread news of abuses committed to nursing home residents.

The most common reported abuses committed against elders include emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse, the most wicked of all types of abuses. Mistreating elders and other residents sexually can be done through many different ways. It can be through fondling, showing of pornographic materials, forced nudity, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and, worst of all, forced penetrative acts.

Many nursing homes reason out that they do not have enough number of nurse aides, staff and/or registered nurses, thus their employees are often overworked, tired and fatigued from all the needs and requests of residents which seem to be endless.

Sexual abuse is usually never immediately obvious, but being really observant of sudden changes in a resident’s behavior may just manifest the fact that something is wrong. Sexually abused residents typically:

  • Begin to display low self-esteem;
  • Avoid having eye contact with other residents;
  • Stop speaking openly, to hide the abuses they are suffering from;
  • Start feeling hopeless, disturbed, or afraid;
  • Become depressed and withdrawn; and,
  • Begin to show abrupt mood swings

While injuries or any kind of harm sustained by residents in a nursing home facility may be considered a personal injury and, thus, deserving compensation, the act of abuse itself is considered a criminal act, deserving harsh punishments.

In the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, it is said that “Allegations of sexual abuse are serious and will need to be duly investigated by the appropriate authorities. That being said, you need to take immediate action to protect your loved one if you suspect he or she has experienced unwanted or otherwise non-consensual sexual contact.”

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