Many victims of sexual abuse in and around Louisville who are confined to nursing homes suffer from significant medical conditions like confusion or loss of memory. Many even have difficulty communicating. Those are all reasons why physical abuse in nursing homes, especially sexual abuse, happens without being reported. A typical nursing home sexual abuse victim is 60 years of age or older who become victims of forced, coerced or otherwise non-consensual acts.
Who Commits Such Acts?
Nursing home sexual offenders might be anybody who enters the facility. They can range from nurses and their assistance to maintenance employees, to family members or even trespassers. More often than not, it’s one nursing home resident who commits a sexual assault on another resident.
Signs of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Kentucky law protects the elderly from many forms of abuse. Some nursing home sexual abuse victims don’t want to talk about their experience or experiences with anybody. Others aren’t capable of discussing the circumstances surrounding what caused them to become a victim, but they begin a downward spiral of their physical, social and emotional well-being. There are plenty of opportunities for a perpetrator when nursing home personnel are bathing, dressing or otherwise assisting a nursing home resident in simply going to the bathroom. When sexual abuse occurs in a nursing home, a victim might show the following signs:
- Inflammation, bruising, bleeding or pain in a resident’s genital or anal area.
- Acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
- Problems walking or sitting without a history of such.
- Underwear that is stained or bloody.
- Extreme nervousness or agitation.
- A sudden cessation of communication or social interaction.
- Behavioral manifestations of a sex role relationship with the perpetrator.
The Legal Duty of a Kentucky Nursing Home to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Residents
The first step that any nursing home should take in preventing the sexual abuse of its patients is to conduct a proper background investigation into any prior criminal history of any potential employee. The failure to conduct a background investigation on a new employee coupled with a sexual assault on a resident by that employee can cause a nursing home to become liable for extensive damages. It might also adversely affect a facility’s license to operate. A nursing home must also evaluate new residents for purposes of determining whether they might be prone to being sexually abused.
Nursing homes can be held responsible for the safety of their residents. Facilities can be held liable for their negligence in the hiring, training or supervision of their staff. Under the law of vicarious liability, nursing homes can be held responsible for the acts or failures to act of their employees when they’re in the course of their employment.
Family members of nursing home residents must be aware of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse. If you believe that your family member was a victim of sex abuse at a nursing home in or around Louisville, contact the Office of the Inspector General Adult Protective Services at 1-877-597-2331. KRS 2=5909.020 gives the inspector general’s office authority to investigate nursing home sexual abuse complaints. Then, contact us here at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and we can arrange for a free consultation and case review. We’re going to listen to you carefully and answer your questions. Then, we’ll advise you on all of your legal alternatives.