Regrettably, you are wrong if you think there is no way a 28 year-old male nursing home aide would rape an 83 year old grandmother suffering from dementia. Rape is about control, and it is a crime of opportunity and while some states and the federal government do not separately track allegations of sexual abuse, CNN has reported that since 2000 there have been more than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse in assisted living and nursing home facilities. Even more alarming is that 226 long-term care facilities have been cited for failing to protect the residents for which it was being paid to provide care and roughly 100 facilities have been cited multiple times. How does this happen and what can you do?
Sexual predators find elderly patients to be easy targets. Since they are in a long-term care facility, the patient has physical limitations or cognitive conditions or both. As a result, they are unable to fight off a sexual predator and their reports of abuse are often chalked up to hallucinations. The pay at some long-term facilities is relatively low making it more of a challenge to attract and maintain quality employees. Inadequate background checks and oversight combined with slow and poor investigations allow sexual predators to avoid detection. Worse yet, some facilities will bury allegations of sexual abuse in an effort to protect the reputation of their facility.
So what can you do? First, Tennessee has mandatory reporting laws. If you suspect (you do not have to confirm) sexual abuse, you must report it. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of rape or other sexual abuse, call the police and request a full investigation. Ensure that your loved one refrains from showering or brushing their teeth and do not allow bedding or clothes to be laundered until a sexual assault investigation can be undertaken.
Ask questions of the facility. Find out who will be caring for your loved one and if abuse allegations have ever been made against them. Ask the facility to explain its procedures for preventing and investigating allegations of abuse. Reinforce to your loved one that they should tell you if there are any problems with the care they are receiving. Of course, some medical conditions prevent solid communication between loved ones and their families, in those circumstances, consider installing a hidden camera in your loved ones’ room and check it regularly. One family discovered their mother was being raped by hiding a camera in a teddy bear in her room.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are being paid to properly care for your loved one. If they fail to do so, they should be held accountable. If your loved one has been the victim of sexual or physical abuse, contact our award-winning lawyers today for a free, confidential case evaluation. If we think we can help you and you decide to hire us, we handle all nursing home cases on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid if we win. To get started, just give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free).