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.
This consolidated ownership and control results in a lack of competition, and functional monopolies in many markets. Lax federal regulation and state and federal lobbying efforts on behalf of these big companies have made it harder and harder to hold individual employees and operators responsible for acts of abuse. When companies fail to regulate themselves and government regulators don’t have the teeth to do what’s right, victims of abuse and neglect must turn to the courts to protect themselves and hold guilty parties accountable.
How Common Is Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes?
Sexual assault is the least common form of nursing home abuse or neglect. However, the rate at which sexual assault occurs is still very alarming. Appoximately 2 out of every 100 residents report sexual abuse. However, many instances of sexual abuse in nursing homes goes unreported.
Addressing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Through the Courts
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, the negligence lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen can assist you in making a claim for damages. Our qualified nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys can hold nursing homes and their employees responsible for acts of abuse and neglect. If you have questions about a possible case, contact us at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys today.