Nursing home residents have a right to life with respect and dignity. Still, many caregivers charged with ensuring seniors in their care do not uphold all of their duties. The result is seniors in a nursing home suffering neglect and even outright abuse by the people who are supposed to care for them.
If your loved one has suffered from sexual abuse in a nursing home, a San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer can help to fight back and hold the responsible parties accountable. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to schedule your free case evaluation today.
Duties of Nursing Homes in Texas
Nursing homes and elder-care facilities have legal duties outlined in the Health and Safety Code (HSC) §242.001. They are duty-bound to ensure a high standard of care is maintained, and residents’ safety and health are prioritized. Each resident has the right to receive services that ensure the best possible state of their physical and emotional well-being.
These laws give nursing home residents the rights to:
- Being treated with dignity and respect
- Having their needs met through individual care plans
- Receive necessary assistance with basic daily needs/activities of daily living
- Proper nutrition
- Proper medical attention when needed
- Receiving the right doses of medication
Operators of nursing homes should also make sure that their facilities are clean and well-maintained. They also have a duty to train staff members to prevent abuse and ensure the safety of residents.
When the people required to care for your loved one fail and, in turn, expose them to sexual abuse, they violate your loved one’s rights. Texas’s laws allow nursing home residents or their representatives to hold the nursing home accountable should their actions or inactions result in harm and/or injury for their residents.
Filing a nursing home abuse claim exposes the problem, not only for the sake of justice but to protect other residents from undergoing similar maltreatment. Get help from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit for your loved one’s case.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Elder abuse in nursing homes still happens, despite state and federal regulations that ensure resident safety. Being isolated from their family members and advanced in age, older adults in nursing homes are vulnerable to sexual abuse and predation. Their physical, mental, and cognitive fragility can make it hard for them to prevent these abuses from happening to them.
Physical touch is a necessary part of caregiving, especially for adults who need help with daily living activities. However, when touch is unwanted, unsolicited, and unwarranted, it constitutes assault and possibly sexual abuse.
It is critical for the family and guardians of nursing home residents to pay attention to their patients’ appearance and what they say. Regular visits can help establish baselines against which you can judge their manner to determine whether they are cared for. Some warning signs of sexual abuse include:
- Bruises around the neck, breasts, or genitals
- Unexplained vaginal or rectal bleeding/discharge
- Sudden and unexplained incontinence
- Torn undergarments/clothes
- Unexplained STDs or other communicable infections
One may miss the signs of sexual abuse, particularly since these changes may occur for many reasons. However, you should try to investigate the reasons behind:
- Sudden personality changes – more depression or anxiety, more aggression, etc.
- More fearfulness, especially towards specific staff members
- Lack of verbal communication
- Being suddenly averse to physical touch, even innocuous gestures
- Complaints about maltreatment from the resident
Perhaps your loved one has complained about a certain staff member or seems nervous and/or agitated when they are around. You should try to find out why they act that way. Sexual abuse is not only limited to unwanted/unwarranted touching. It can also include:
- Sexual assault and battery
- Coerced nudity/sexual photography
- Sexual talk/unsolicited texts of a sexual nature
Many nursing home sexual abuse cases go unnoticed or unreported. In some cases, abuse happens to seniors that are unable to report the abuse. Anyone who has undergone sexual abuse feels shame. The perpetrators can use threatening language to keep their actions unknown. However, by careful observation and deduction, you can tell whether or not your loved one was abused.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving San Antonio, call (800) 842-6336
San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If you think your loved one has suffered sexual abuse, the first step is to make a complaint to the nursing home administrator. You should do it both orally and in writing, and get a definite timeline within which they should explain. If the explanation is not satisfactory, it may be time to consider consulting a lawyer.
You can then request that the resident be transferred to an independent hospital for a thorough medical examination. Such exams can uncover evidence of physical or sexual abuse.
At such times, our San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer can step in to represent your interests. They can help you to uncover the necessary evidence and advise you on steps to take. This includes filing your personal injury lawsuit on time. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 says that you have two years to do so. Finally, we can represent you in negotiations for fair compensation for the injustice done to your loved one.
If your loved one has suffered sexual abuse or abuse of any nature, reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, and dial (800) 842-6336 as soon as possible.