Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are facing endemic levels of reported abuse and neglect, presenting challenges to those in the field who seek to provide safe and effective care for our aging population. For all the reported instances of abuse, there are many occurrences that are never discovered or reported, suggesting that the problems of abuse and neglect in U.S. nursing homes are worse than they appear. A recently published news report discusses an instance of sexual assault in an Atlanta, GA assisted living facility that went unreported to law enforcement for over four days, inhibiting the ability of authorities to properly investigate the incident.
According to the local news report, a CNA at the luxury assisted living facility in Atlanta, GA walked into a resident’s room and witnessed another employee on top of a resident with his clothes off, apparently raping the resident. The witnessing employee reportedly told the attacker to stop what he was doing, reported the incident to a supervisor, and gave the victim a bath. Police were not immediately called after the attack was reported. Although the CNA’s decision to give the victim a bath may have offered her some comfort, the bath itself destroyed evidence of the assault and may have prevented authorities from making an arrest once the attack was reported.
Although it appears from the context of the news report that the reporting employee was only trying to do what was best after she witnessed the assault, the fact that authorities were not called after a forcible rape was witnessed suggests that the employees of the nursing home in question are woefully undertrained. Unfortunately, this lack of training and accountability is prevalent throughout the American nursing home industry. Large multi-state companies have purchased nursing home systems nationwide and consolidated ownership and operation of such facilities into smaller and smaller ownership groups.