It’s a terrible thought to confront, but the heartbreaking reality is that sexual abuse in nursing homes happens throughout the United States. Frail and defenseless, seniors in nursing homes make easy targets for sexual predation by employees, strangers who enter the facility, and in some cases, even other residents. Many nursing home patients suffer from conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, vision loss, and limited mobility, making them highly vulnerable to rape, molestation, sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sexual coercion, being photographed in explicit ways, and other forms of sexual abuse.
If you are worried that your elderly parent or spouse was the victim of sexual abuse at a nursing home, you are urged to seek immediate emergency medical care, then contact a nursing home sexual assault lawyer for legal guidance. If the abuse or assault resulted from nursing home negligence, the facility in violation could be held liable for physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses resulting from the abuse.
Nursing home residents have a right to be free from sexual abuse, and to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Let compassionate, caring, and experienced nursing home abuse attorney Brent Wieand fight for justice and work to recover compensation for your loved one. For a free and absolutely confidential legal consultation, call Brent at (800) 770-3497.
Warning Signs a Nursing Home Resident Was Sexually Abused
Sexual abuse victims, particularly those who are elderly, are often hesitant to speak up about the abuse and pain they have endured. Many victims suffer intense feelings of shame and embarrassment, and may even feel guilty or responsible for what happened. In other cases, victims are physically or mentally incapable of articulating their abuse due to medical conditions that affect cognition, speech, or memory.
For these reasons, it is critically important that friends and family members learn to recognize the warning signs of sexual abuse in a nursing home, and to carefully monitor the situation. These warning signs include the following:
- Anal or vaginal bleeding, bruising, or discharge.
- Cuts, bruises, burns, or bite marks on or around the buttocks, nipples, upper thighs, or genital area.
- Depression, anxiety, fearfulness, apathy, or other unusual changes in your loved one’s personality or demeanor.
- Friction burns or bruising on the wrists or ankles, which indicates use of restraints.
- Loss of interest in former hobbies, activities, or relationships.
- Pain, stiffness, or difficulty when walking, sitting, standing, or lying down.
- Pain, bleeding, or discharge when urinating.
- The development of STDs, STIs, or UTIs.
- Torn or bloody undergarments or bed sheets.
If you have noticed any of these red flags, you should take swift action to ensure that the situation does not continue or escalate. To begin with, you should immediately speak with the nursing home administrator. If you are not absolutely satisfied with the nursing home’s response, or if you suspect that abuse has already occurred, you should notify the police right away, then contact an attorney immediately for further assistance and support.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes Statistics
Accurate statistics on nursing home sexual abuse are extremely difficult to obtain, primarily because nursing home violations, including those involving sexual predation, are widely underreported. Exacerbating this problem is the fact that, in many cases, government agencies which inspect nursing homes fail to detect and/or properly classify violations, even when extreme and heinous abuse of seniors has occurred.
While statistics on sexual abuse in long-term care facilities are somewhat unreliable, certain high-risk groups have been identified. According to a 2006 report published in Marquette Elder’s Advisor, nursing home populations at heightened risk for sexual victimization include:
- Female residents “with cognitive and functional limitations.”
- Residents with limited mobility.
- Residents with “low levels of orientation to time and place,” such as Alzheimer’s patients.
Suing Nursing Homes for Sexual Assault
Nursing homes can be held liable for the sexual abuse of residents if the abuse occurred due to negligence. There are many ways a nursing home can be negligent, failing in its duties to protect and care for each patient. To supply a few examples, you may have a sexual abuse case against a nursing home, or other long-term elder care facility, if the abuse occurred for any of the following reasons:
- The facility failed to hire adequate security guards, and/or failed to implement adequate security policies, thereby allowing strangers to enter the premises and victimize residents.
- The facility failed to screen or conduct background checks on employees.
- The facility failed to train employees to detect and prevent sexual abuse.
- The facility negligently retained employees despite learning of prior offenses or violations.
To reiterate, these are just a few of the ways that nursing home negligence can result in the rape, sexual exploitation, and sexual victimization of patients. The nursing home sexual assault lawyers of Wieand Law Firm can better help determine whether you have a case after discussing your concerns in a free and confidential consultation.
If you have grounds to sue or file a claim against the nursing home, which is called having a “cause of action,” we will take immediate action to initiate an investigation into the abuse, and will not stop analyzing the evidence until we have constructed a robust legal strategy. We know that nothing can undo or make up for the abuse that has taken place, but in the interest of justice and accountability, we will work to obtain the maximum compensation and send a clear message that nursing home abuse will not be tolerated. Compensation, also called “damages,” may be available for:
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Lawyers for Rape and Molestation Victims
Negligent nursing homes that allow strangers, staff members, or fellow residents to sexually assault other residents should be held accountable to the fullest extent permitted by law. Though nothing can take back what has already occurred, many abuse survivors find that taking aggressive legal action helps them to gain the closure they need to start the healing process in earnest.
Brent Wieand can be your legal ally in the fight against negligent and abusive caregivers, and will guide you throughout every stage of the process with compassion, sensitivity, and professionalism. To talk about your nursing home sexual abuse claim or lawsuit in a free and completely confidential consultation, contact us at (800) 770-3497 today.