While it is unimaginable to most people, sexual abuse in nursing homes is more than just a vague possibility. It’s a real threat in nursing homes across the country. With the advent of modern medicine, people are living longer lives. And with the cultural shift of both spouses working and thus being unable to care for an aging loved one, more and more people are ending up at nursing homes.
Of course, any kind of abuse that occurs behind the walls of a nursing home is disturbing, whether it be emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual. However, sexual abuse is particularly upsetting. It may come as a surprise, however, that nursing home staff are not the only ones engaging in the abuse. With that said, the fact that the abuse does not occur at the hands of a staff member does not absolve the nursing home staff and its administration from liability if such abuse does occur. This is because nursing homes have an affirmative duty to reasonably protect their residents, even if the threat comes from another resident.
Resident-On-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes
Earlier this week in Washington, one nursing home director lost his license for failing to recognize and react to sexual abuse that was occurring in his nursing home. According to one local news report, there were several instances of abuse that nursing home staff saw and reported to the higher ups, and nothing was done.
On one occasion, a nurse witnessed one dementia resident grab another resident’s hand and place it on his genitals. Staff reported the resident’s conduct to the director, who felt that the incident was a consensual encounter between two residents. He told staff that nothing could be done until the resident “crossed the line.”
Several staff members saw similar interactions with the same resident, culminating in the resident obtaining a key to another resident’s room and fondling her breasts. Finally, nursing home staff called police, who initiated a Department of Social and Human Services investigation into the nursing home’s policies surrounding this type of abuse. Ultimately, the nursing home was fined, and the director was forced to surrender his license. The home is now run by the former director’s brother.
Has Your Loved One Reported Abuse?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and they have told you or you suspect that they have been abused, you should speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It may be that you can hold the responsible parties accountable in a civil lawsuit, seeking compensation for what your loved one was forced to endure. Keep in mind that the abuse need not necessarily be at the hands of nursing home staff in order for the nursing home to be held liable. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we can recover compensation for you or your loved one.
More Blog Posts:
What You Can Do to Help Detect Nursing Home Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published January 22, 2016.
Nursing Home Abuse Doesn’t Require Physical Contact, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published January 8, 2016.