There’s nothing accidental about sexual abuse in nursing homes. It’s non-consensual and intentional between a perpetrator and a victim. For a variety of reasons, it often goes unreported. It can occur as a result of force, deception or manipulation.
Who Commits Nursing Home Sexual Abuse?
Anybody who has personal contact with a nursing home resident can commit sexual abuse. The perpetrator could be a family member, a friend, an employee of the facility or another resident. It could even be a trespasser. The most common form of sexual abuse in nursing homes is resident on resident abuse.
Types of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Nursing home sexual abuse can take on a wide range of forms. Here are a few examples of non-consensual sex in a nursing home facility:
- Touching of the breasts or genital area without consent.
- Oral or anal sex.
- Forced nudity, observation of masturbation or pornographic images.
- Taking nude or sexually explicit photographs of residents.
Dementia and Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
As females comprise nearly two-thirds of the nursing home population, they’re far more likely to be victims of nursing home sexual abuse than men. Nursing home residents of either gender who suffer from dementia are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse as a result of impaired cognitive abilities and the ability to communicate. That puts the ability to communicate at issue.
Some Signs of Possible Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Even if a nursing home resident is unable to communicate effectively, there are still signs of possible nursing home sexual abuse. Here are a few of them:
- Bruising around the breasts, genital or anal area.
- A newly acquired sexual transmitted disease.
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Sudden difficulty in sitting or walking.
- Ripped, stained or bloody clothing.
- Refusal to interact socially.
- Avoiding or not looking at certain people.
Rights of Nursing Home Residents
As per the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing home residents have certain rights if a nursing home receives Medicare or Medicaid. Those rights include the following:
- Freedom from neglect or abuse.
- Freedom from being placed in physical restraints or from the use of chemical restraints unless it’s in the best interests of the residents.
- The right to privacy.
- Meeting a resident’s medical, physical, psychological and social needs.
- The resident’s right to participate in resident and family groups.
- All residents must be treated with dignity.
- To communicate freely.
- To participate in their care plan.
- To be fully informed in advance of any changes in care, treatment or change in status of facility.
- To be able to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
If you’re a family member of a nursing home resident, and you have reason to believe that he or she was sexually abused at the facility, notify local law enforcement right away, report your suspicions to the Kentucky Office of Adult Protection Services at 800-753-6200. This agency has special authority to investigate nursing home abuse allegations. After that, contact us at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and you can arrange for a free consultation and case review with an experienced and effective nursing home abuse lawyer from our law firm. We’re going to listen to you carefully and answer your questions too. Then, you’ll be advised on all of the legal options that are available to you. If we undertake the representation of you or your relative, our objective will be to obtain the highest settlement or award that is deserved in the case.