Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure the protection and safety of their elderly residents. If a nursing home facility fails to ensure the basic needs of its residents, elderly seniors could suffer from serious injuries or even death. In other cases, nursing home residents suffer from sexual abuse due to the lack of supervision and care.
Understaffed Nursing Home Facilities
The understaffing of nursing homes presents a serious problem throughout the United States. The legal requirements under the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 state that a registered nurse must remain available within the nursing home for eight consecutive hours, seven days a week. Additionally, nursing homes must have a licensed nurse available for all elderly residents’ needs 24 hours a day. Finally, other caregivers and staff members must also provide care and protection for residents of nursing homes to ensure their safety and protection from any kind of physical harm, including sexual abuse.
Without proper staffing, meeting basic of seniors such as nutrition, hydration, repositioning for those elderly residents that remain bedridden or wheelchair-bound, or assistance going to the restroom may prove impossible. When nursing home staff facilities remain understaffed, elderly residents experience both acute and chronic health conditions and injuries. Without proper supervision due to understaffing, nursing home residents may experience sexual abuse by other nursing home staff members, other residents, or even visitors to the facility.
Caregiver Stress and Burnout
When nursing home facilities remain understaffed and overworked, the employees may ultimately suffer from serious stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, and eventual burnout. Taking care of elderly residents takes both physical and mental endurance. Under the additional stresses of understaffed and overworked conditions, caregivers and other nursing home employees simply do not or cannot provide proper care and protection of residents.
Mistakes happen when people suffer from exhaustion and burnout, and in the case of nursing homes, elderly residents may not receive their basic needs and protection they deserve. If caregivers are too exhausted to continually monitor the activities of the nursing home residents, the residents may remain vulnerable to sexual abuse by other residents, nursing home staff employees, or visitors to the facility.
Nursing home facilities may have high turnover rates due to understaffing and overworking of employees. Nursing home staff members may feel forced to leave due to their unhealthy employment conditions. In an attempt to refill these positions, nursing home facilities may hire inexperienced employees and then immediately expect them to meet the physical, emotional, health, and safety needs of the residents. In some cases, insufficient training of newly hired employees can lead to elder abuse, neglect, and the inability to protect residents from sexual assault.
These insufficiently trained nursing home staff members may never receive appropriate guidance regarding how to accurately protect nursing home residents from sexual abuse or even identify the signs that a nursing home resident suffered from sexual abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Home Residents
While the causes of failure to protect residents in nursing homes differ, the results are the same when an elderly person suffers from sexual abuse. You should immediately contact the nursing home management If you visit your elderly family member in a nursing home and notice:
- Bruising or injuries of any kind with no explanation, especially in the groin area
- Decreased mobility, or the inability to walk, stand, or sit without pain
- Newly acquired sexually transmitted diseases
- Torn or ripped clothing or bedding, or dirty clothes, soiled bedding, unkempt appearance
- Extreme changes in your elderly loved one’s personality, including fear, anger, depression, anxiety, mental regression, soothing techniques such as rocking or thumb-sucking, or specific fear or avoidance of specific nursing home employees
Consider a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Nursing homes have a duty and obligation to protect their residents from all kinds of harm, including sexual abuse. When a family member places their elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home, the last thing they ever expect is that their family member will suffer sexual abuse. No matter the cause of failure to protect residents of a nursing home from sexual abuse, the nursing home may bear responsibility for your loved one’s losses.
If your elderly loved one suffered sexual abuse in a nursing home, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about how these cases work. We want to see if we can begin working on behalf of your elderly loved one. Call us at (800) 842-6336 for a free consultation.