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Nursing Home Sexual Assault

Nursing homes are for people who don’t have to be in medical facilities but can’t be cared for at home. It’s also for the residential care of the disabled and elderly. Nursing homes can also be called convalescent care, convalescent homes, rest homes, care homes, old people’s homes, long-term care facilities, or skilled nursing facilities. Often, these terms have different meanings to indicate whether the institution is private or public and whether they provide emergency medical care, nursing care, or assisted living. Most nursing homes have skilled nurses and aides available 24 hours a day, but you still can’t avoid the unthinkable.

Your elderly relatives in a nursing home are still susceptible to cases of sexual assault by the individuals paid to take care of them. Even if it’s something you don’t expect from those people, there are cases of nursing home patients being assaulted. You can file a lawsuit and get financial compensation if you can prove that your loved one was sexually assaulted while living at a long-term care facility. Keep on reading for more.

Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

Sexual abuse refers to unwanted physical or sexual interaction that involves a nursing home patient. It can also refer to the physical or sexual interaction with a confused patient or someone who can’t give their consent because of their physical or mental conditions. It may come in different kinds but not limited to:

  • Failure to adequately monitor visitors or other residents who commit any sexual crime or put nursing home patients in danger
  • Forcing the patient to undress in front of other people even if it’s not needed
  • Forcing the resident to undress in front of other patients
  • Forcing the patient to watch others engage in sexual activity
  • Exposing patients to pornography without their permission and consent
  • Inappropriate conduct, whether asked for or committed on the victim

Reasons for Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes

Family and friends may not quickly identify the signs of nursing home abuse; however, they can turn into something extreme that may lead to emotional, physical, and mental trauma. To keep your loved ones, you should learn about the different reasons cases of sexual assault in nursing homes happen.

  • Sexual Abuse by Other Residents

One of the common acts of abuse in a nursing home happens at the hands of another resident. Individuals with a criminal background or psychiatric disorder are more likely to assault other residents sexually. It’s the facility’s responsibility to ensure that patients with criminal backgrounds or psychiatric disorders are monitored regularly so that other patients can rest safely.

  • Sexual Abuse by Strangers

You shouldn’t also forget that strangers can sexually abuse patients at a nursing home. Usually, this happens when there’s minimal security and monitoring at the facility. Most facilities will not require guests to sign in for visitation and don’t have adequate security systems. Moreover, offenders can enter the facility if someone forgets to close the doors. If this happens, the facility is always liable for negligence under federal guidelines.

  • Sexual Abuse by Family Members

It may seem alarming, but family members and relatives have been found out guilty of sexual assaults in some instances, according to the National Institution of Justice. It happens when a patient moves into the home, and their spouse comes to visit them. You can also hear instances where a family member assaults an elderly relative. If the resident can’t consent, the act is considered a form of nursing home abuse. Nursing homes are responsible for monitoring these kinds of activities to ensure their patients are always safe.

Knowing If Your Loved One Is Victim of Nursing Home Sexual Assault

You don’t have any concrete means of determining if your loved one has been sexually assaulted in a nursing home. Your best line of defense is communication. Many nursing home residents who have been assaulted are hesitant to talk about the incident, so it’s best to learn about them. Here are the common signs you should be aware of.

  • Not communicating, withdrawal, or depression
  • Unexplained pain when sitting that wasn’t present before
  • Unusual anxiety and fear, especially when a particular person – an acquaintance, a family member, another resident, or a staff member – is around
  • Handprints or bruises on the buttocks, breasts, or thighs
  • Ripped, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Head or brain injuries
  • Bruising and bleeding on the private areas
  • Unexplained blood stains on linens or bedsheets and/or clothing
  • Unexplained incontinence or recurring urinary tract infections in women who aren’t catheterized or incontinent
  • Infections that are transmitted sexually
  • Injuries such as welts, scars, or bruises around the genitals
  • Unexplained changes in their personality or behavior
Damages in Nursing Home Sexual Assault Cases
Therapy and counseling expensesNursing home patients and their families may not feel comfortable with the facility after the incident happens. Insurance covers the overall costs associated with caring for an elder at home.
Medical billsNursing home assaults can also result in serious injuries that may require hospitalization. Insurance may help cover the bills. Medical bills are also easy to calculate, especially if the victim or their family members kept records of the bills.
Pain and sufferingBoth pain and suffering are called non-economic damages that the offender’s actions have caused the victim. Overall values for these damages are harder to determine. It depends on the lawyer’s assessment of the case, experience, and research.
Loss of quality of lifeOther cases of nursing home abuse may rob a patient of their health. Insurance programs can help cover the costs of caring for an abused victim at the end of their life.
Punitive damagesPunitive damages can also be included to hold the offender responsible for their reckless behavior and intentionally causing harm. It can also discourage other people from committing the same crime. Damages alone don’t determine how much compensation a victim may receive from a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Take Action Against Nursing Home Sexual Assault

  • If you think that your loved one in a nursing home is a victim of sexual abuse, call the local authorities to report your claims and have the situation looked into immediately. In similar cases, victims can file compensation for damages such as pain and suffering and personal injuries.
  • It’s also important to call a nursing home abuse attorney who can educate you on the constitutional rights of a nursing home resident and provide you with options on how to bring the offender to justice. To set a free consultation and gather more pieces of information, call Diamond and Diamond today at 1-800-567-HURT.

Pro Tip

“Even if elder victims can communicate, many are often ashamed of what is taking place and they do not tell anyone. Therefore, it is crucial for loved ones to remain alert about the care of their loved ones. If you have a feeling that something is a bit off, investigate further.  Know the signs of sexual abuse so that you can take action immediately.”

Nursing Home Sexual Assault FAQs

You should file a sexual abuse incident within a particular time frame called the statute of limitations. Not filing a report within that time frame will be barred by the statute of limitations. Often, the state law where the reported incident happened will govern the statute of limitations. Each state has a different statute of limitations and other requirements, so it’s best to talk to a qualified nursing home abuse attorney to educate you about your options and constitutional rights.

Unfortunately, most nursing home abuse cases involve physically and mentally or physically disabled residents who can’t identify the offender or describe the incident. While these kinds of cases can be complicated, our lawyers can employ neuropsychologists and other practitioners to discuss the impact of the assault on the individual.

In most claims, victims are afraid to speak out and confront the offender. Our lawyers respect these feelings and take every measure to make the legal process as smooth as possible for your loved ones. You’ll have the guarantee that we’ll always be present at all legal hearings and take precautions. If the offender is imprisoned, we’ll take measures to send them to jail, minimizing the need for your loved ones to confront their offenders.