Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Physical and sexual abuse have no place in society, let alone in the nursing care industry and these heinous acts must be met with a swift and aggressive pursuit of justice. The nursing home abuse attorneys of Nursing Home Law Center LLC do everything in our power to best represent the interests and needs of the victims of these horrible crimes and understand that the damage lasts long after the abuse has occurred. Many victims remain silent out of embarrassment or fear, so it is also important that you recognize the signs of abuse and know when to act in order to protect those who you hold dear.Common Perpetrators of Sexual Violence in Nursing Homes
Those who commit sexual crimes in nursing facilities are often very close to their victims. They may be friends, caregivers or regular visitors. Understanding the different types of perpetrators can help you recognize when something is not right and take the needed steps to protect your loved one. Our Chicago nursing home injury lawyers have noticed that those who commit these acts fall into the following categories.
Nursing home staff members — while most people are under the impression that nursing care facilities place potential employees through a rigorous screening process, it is possible that some offenders fall through the cracks, have no prior record or the facility wasn’t thorough enough during the screening process. If your loved one is sexually assaulted by an employee with a history of abusive treatment toward patients, the facility can be held liable for the employee’s actions due to its failure to act.
Residents staying in the same facility — there are instances where another resident will physically or sexually assault another and the nursing home staff may or may not be aware of the abuse. If nursing home staff members have reason to suspect a resident of misconduct, appropriate measures must be taken which include investigating the incident and taking the needed legal actions against the offender.
Guests who abuse residents during visits — it is the responsibility of nursing facilities to have adequate security measures in place which would prevent guests from entering the home and assaulting residents. All visitors should be required to check in and those who are acting suspiciously should be monitored. Many of the guests who abuse residents have no reason to be there other than to target the elderly.
Victims’ own family members — some victims are abused by their own family members. These cases happen primarily when a family member is taking care of the victim and often includes physical and financial abuse as well.
When potential clients ask our nursing home injury lawyers when they should act on their suspicions, our knee-jerk response is that it is better to investigate and be proven wrong than to be right and have done nothing. Most of the victims of physical and sexual abuse refuse to come forward for a number of reasons— their assaulters may be threatening them, they may be ashamed or their caregivers may be downplaying their accusations by claiming they are suffering from senility or dementia. You should never simply take the word of nursing home staff and it is best to trust your instincts when you notice sudden changes in your loved one.
If you notice the following symptoms of abuse, consult with an attorney to review your options or launch an investigation.
Your loved one suffers from intense mood swings which include deep depression and anger. This is often downplayed by the abusers as symptoms of dementia, but should never be ignored.
You notice physical signs of abuse such as marks and bruises. Common locations include the wrists and ankles as well as the genitals. Any marks located in sexual areas are a red flag for launching an investigation.
Your loved one becomes silent in the presence of caregivers. This is a sign that he or she is afraid of whoever is in the room and especially afraid of what might happen if he or she says the wrong thing. It could mean that the caregiver has threatened your loved one and warrants investigation.
Your loved one makes an accusation. Regardless of how outrageous the claim may sound, it needs to be followed up with an investigation. Some sexual predators hide their perversions very well and their friends and colleagues are often quoted as never having suspected they could be capable of such heinous deeds.
In Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed legislation into law in Illinois that allows families to install cameras in their loved one’s rooms given that they shoulder the cost of installation and monitoring and that any residents sharing the room consent. This is one way many families are choosing to help deter sexual predators from preying on the people that they care about and the cameras can also uncover evidence of any other forms of abuse such as neglect or failure to provide supervision when the patient requires it.
If you believe that your loved one is the victim of abuse, it is imperative that you launch an investigation right away. Nursing Home Law Center LLC has a legal team dedicated solely to protecting the rights of nursing home patients and our extensive knowledge and track record of success will ensure that we uncover any evidence of abuse and hold the offending parties liable for their misdeeds. Oftentimes, the only way to deter this kind of behavior is to exact stiff penalties upon offenders as an example toward other facilities.
Contact us today to arrange your risk-free and confidential case review with an award winning nursing home abuse attorney and we will gather all of the information we need to conduct our investigation. If we uncover any information that requires legal action, we will let you know more about your legal rights and options so that you know what you can expect from us and the legal process in general. If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.