Nursing homes are meant to have competent medical professionals who are committed to caring for the elderly who cannot live on their own. Understandably, when you take your loved one to a nursing home facility, you believe that they will have a safe environment and will receive quality care. Unfortunately, that scenario is not always the case.
If your loved one suffered from sexual abuse in a nursing home, there is no amount of financial award that can take away the pain caused. Survivors of sexual abuse endure significant mental, emotional, and physical injuries, some of which can be severe and long-lasting. Nonetheless, your loved one may be entitled to financial compensation to ease the financial burden that often accompanies the suffering.
Attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are here to assist you with your loved one’s nursing home sexual abuse claims. We will work hard to hold the facilities responsible for the injuries your loved one suffered. Contact us at (800) 842-6336 to discuss your case with a member of our team and work with a Nashville sexual abuse lawyer.
Understanding Sexual Abuse
Nursing home residents have the right to be free from physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. They deserve to be treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity. When a nursing home infringes on the rights of the residents, abuse can occur. According to the National Council of Aging (NCOA), sexual abuse involves “touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other non-consensual sexual activity with an older adult.” The common types of elder sexual abuse include:
- Forcible Rape: Forcible rape occurs when an abuser engages in non-consensual sexual contact with the elderly and with the use of physical force or threats. Forcible rape may also include the attempts to commit the egregious act
- Coercion: This is when a nursing home resident is mentally controlled to perform sex acts through intimidation
- Photos that are sexual in nature
- Spying on someone while they are in the bathroom
- Sexual jokes
The Vulnerable Often Fall Victims of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Any nursing home resident can be a victim of sexual abuse. However, some groups may appear more vulnerable than others. Residents at the highest risk of abuse include:
- Women: According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, women are at the highest risk of suffering from sexual abuse.
- Residents with dementia: Residents with dementia or other cognitive impairments have a higher risk of sexual abuse.
- Residents with physical disabilities: Residents with physical disabilities depend largely on caregivers for their daily living activities. For that reason, they are often seen as easy targets for sexual abuse.
Nursing home sexual abuse perpetrators include:
- Resident-resident sexual aggression: Residents have the right to engage in consensual sex. However, this right is only valid as long as both parties have the capacity to consent. Resident-resident sexual aggression is the most common form of sexual abuse in nursing homes.
- Caregivers: The most egregious forms of sexual abuse, such as rape, are often perpetrated by nurses, aides, and nursing home staff members.
- Visitors: Sometimes, visitors and unidentified perpetrators commit acts of elder abuse to residents in nursing homes. This accounts for just a small percentage of sexual abuse cases in nursing homes.
For a free legal consultation with a Nashville Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Nashville, call (800) 842-6336
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
It may be hard to tell if your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, especially if they suffer memory loss, confusion, or have issues with communicating. However, the following post-event behaviors may serve as red flags:
- When your loved one expresses a strong desire to leave the nursing home facility without giving many details about the reasons behind the desire
- Sudden negative feelings towards a resident or a nursing home staff member
- Inexplicable emotional and mental changes. Take note of atypical agitation, aggression, or lack of interest in things your loved one once enjoyed.
Besides the behavioral changes, make sure to look out for these physical manifestations of sexual abuse:
- New emergency sexually transmitted diseases
- Difficulty in walking and sitting if your loved one did not have these issues before
- Pelvic injuries
- Bruises in and around genital or anal areas
Nashville Nashville Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 842-6336
Nursing Homes Owe Every Resident a Duty of Care
Nursing homes have a duty and obligation to care for and protect residents. They must exercise reasonable care when hiring staff members. They must properly screen every candidate and reveal any sex offender applying for work as a nurse, caregiver, or staff member. Unfortunately, when a nursing home facility is faced with severe understaffing, they may easily cut corners and hire staff members without carrying out proper background checks.
Facilities are sometimes reluctant to believe allegations from victims who suffer from cognitive limitations. Nursing homes must investigate every allegation or suspicion of sexual assault and report to the relevant authorities as soon as possible.
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Holding Negligent Parties Responsible for Your Loved One’s Injuries
The perpetrator of sexual abuse must be held accountable for their actions. However, there are other parties who may be liable for their negligence. These parties include:
Staff members always have a duty to monitor all residents. This means that they should be the first ones to identify and report any signs of sexual abuse. When they fail to uphold this responsibility, though, they can be held liable.
Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing homes must protect their residents by taking reasonable care when hiring staff members. If they rush through the process and hire an unqualified or an abusive staff member, they may be held liable. Additionally, if they fail to report cases of sexual abuse to authorities, they may be found negligent and thus liable.
A Nashville sexual abuse lawyer will investigate your loved one’s case, establish liable parties, and hold them responsible for their actions.
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Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Our attorneys understand the gravity and sensitivity of such a matter like this. If your loved one suffered injuries following sexual abuse in a nursing home, a Nashville sexual abuse lawyer is ready to pursue compensation for your loved one’s damages. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to schedule a free consultation.