The Most Humiliating and Insulting Type of Abuse in Nursing Homes

On the morning of January 29, 2013, an 89-year old resident of a nursing home in Minnesota confided to her daughter the sexual abuse committed against her the night before. The abuser was one of the male workers in their nursing home facility. Though the daughter reported the incidence of abuse immediately, it still took 10 days before the Department of Health initiated an investigation.

The 30-year old male nurse aid accused of the crime admitted to having sex with the elderly resident but, according to the nursing home’s clinical services director, the act was consensual and that the accuser even flirted mercilessly with the male employee prior to the sexual act. It took about four days before the victim was medically examined for evidence of rape; results showed that she was badly injured.

Widespread media coverage of nursing home abuses sends two chilling realities: that these are true and happen much mor most humiliating and insulting e often than anyone can imagine; and, residents both the old and the sick, despite being weak and defenseless are still being taken advantage of by abusive individuals.

Though more acts of abuses are now being uncovered and abusers brought to justice, it just cannot be denied that many of these abuses are totally shameful acts. Worse, most of these are committed by nursing home employees themselves, by nurses or certified nursing assistants.

Some forms of abuses in nursing homes are physical, emotional, financial and sexual, which is the most humiliating and insulting, but the least type of abuse reported. Elder sexual abuse, for clarity’s sake, is physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, this contact being non-consensual or unwanted. This includes making contact with a confused elderly person or with one who is unable to give consent.

The signs of sexual abuse include bruising; blood, stains, or rips in undergarments; sudden trouble standing, sitting, or walking; newly discovered sexually transmitted diseases; pain or injury in pelvic areas; and, inappropriate or atypical behavior. It is not easy to detect signs of sexual abuse; victims also very rarely confide with anyone about the abuse committed against them due either to fear or shame. Often, it is up to family members to make sure that their loved one is not a victim of any type of abuse or neglect.

As explained by a Chicago nursing home sex abuse lawyer of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, “allegations of sexual abuse are serious and will need to be duly investigated by the appropriate authorities. That being said, family members need to take immediate action to protect their loved one if they suspect that he or she has experienced unwanted or otherwise non-consensual sexual contact.”

Nursing Home Abuse is a Scary Issue

There comes a time in a person’s life when they may be unable to care for themselves and live independently. They usually turn to their family and loved ones for a solution. This is why you find many households where the grandma or grandpa lives with their child and grandchildren. But what if moving in with a loved one isn’t possible? Nursing homes are a great alternative whenever an individual of older age needs constant care that their family can’t commit to providing due to work or other circumstances in their own life.

Nursing homes are seen as a solution, a place where the burden of constantly worrying about the safety of an older relative can be alleviated. Families move older relatives into a nursing home blindly trusting that the staff will take care of their loved one’s physical and emotional needs. Unfortunately, there are many cases of nursing home staff being neglectful and cruel to residents. According to the Horst Law, this kind of mistreatment can come in many forms and unfortunately, some forms of abuse are hard to spot. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 10% of nursing home residents suffer abuse.

The effects of nursing home abuse can vary from emotionally damaging to altering the individual’s health or life. For example, if a resident’s medicine is distributed incorrectly, they could suffer severe medical consequences or even death. On the other hand, a person may not die from physical or sexual abuse, but the emotional trauma that surrounds those circumstances may be just as life-altering.

Nursing homes and their staff are under contract. This allows for staff to not only be held civilly liable, but also criminally liable in many cases. As the family member of a loved one who has undergone nursing home abuse, you should seek restitution for their suffering. Nursing homes are liable for their staff and how they behave at work. Do not let a staff member’s negligence alter your loved one’s health or emotional state.