Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes More Prevalent than Thought

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Mar 01, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home residentA CNN investigation has revealed sexual abuse committed against residents of nursing homes is significantly more common than originally thought.

Since 2000, there have been more than 16,000 sexual abuse claims among nursing home residents and those residing in assisted living facilities in the U.S., according to the Administration for Community Living.

The actual number could be much higher, as this figure only considers claims in which a long-term care ombudsman was involved in the complaint resolution. There is also no comprehensive, national data on how many instances of sexual abuse have been reported in nursing homes.

CNN’s investigation, which included the examination of court records and data from state and federal agencies, discovered many nursing homes have refrained from reporting and investigating allegations of abuse, while law enforcement agencies dismissed many sexual assault accusations by citing the victim’s failing memory.

State regulators responsible for monitoring nursing home facilities funded by Medicaid and Medicare also failed to red-flag caregivers who were repeatedly accused of sexually abusing residents.

More than 1,000 nursing homes have received federal citations for the mishandling of cases involving alleged sexual abuse, including rape, abuse and assault; nearly 100 of these facilities have received multiple citations.

Between 2010 and 2015, 226 nursing homes were cited for failing to protect residents from substantiated sexual abuse.

Nearly 60 percent of these cases resulted in fines amounting to more than $9 million and only 16 nursing home facilities were permanently cut off from Medicare and Medicaid funding.

CNN’s investigation also found that:

  • In 2013, 386 allegations of sexual abuse against nursing home residents were made in Illinois, 201 of which involved a caretaker. Only 59 cases were substantiated.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, eight claims of sexual abuse were investigated in Hawaii, five of which involved caretakers.
  • In Texas, 251 sexual abuse complaints were made in 2015, only 11 of which were substantiated.

CNN’s investigation revealed that in nearly one-fourth of cases, the abuser was a facility staff member, nurse or aide. A smaller portion of sexual assault claims also involved abuse by another resident, family member, facility visitor or unknown individual.

However, cases involving staff members and caregivers tended to contain the most serious accusations that involved forced oral sex, digital penetration, intercourse and other forms of sexual assault.

CNN describes the current level of nursing home sexual abuse as an unchecked epidemic that is rarely discussed but has become prevalent throughout the U.S.

As the nation’s elderly population is expected to increase between 2010 and 2050, it is imperative that we recognize the tragedy that is occurring within nursing homes and actively pursue allegations of sexual abuse.

At PKSD, we understand the anguish and betrayal that families of nursing home abuse victims feel when their trust is violated by those charged with caring for their loved one. We are strong advocates of the rights of nursing home residents and will aggressively pursue any allegations of elder abuse or neglect.

If you suspect that your elderly loved one has suffered from abuse, our Milwaukee nursing home abuse attorneys can help you take action for no charge unless you recover damages for your claim.

Call 877-877-2228 to schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation for your claim.

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