Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes is More Common than Previously Believed
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Mar 09, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse
A CNN investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against residents of nursing homes revealed that the problem is far more prevalent than originally thought.
More than 16,000 claims of sexual abuse against residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the U.S. have been alleged since 2000, according to the Administration for Community Living.
However, it is likely the real number is higher, as this total includes only claims involving complaint resolution conducted by long-term care ombudsmen. No all-encompassing data exists on the number of reported sexual abuse allegations in U.S. nursing homes.
Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Claims Are Often Mishandled
Through the analysis of court records as well as state and federal data, CNN uncovered that numerous nursing homes forgo reporting and investigating sexual abuse claims.
Law enforcement agencies also frequently reject claims, often citing the declining mental capacity of victims and their inability to remember events.
Nursing homes that receive funding from Medicaid and Medicare are monitored by state government agencies, yet regulators often neglect to flag facilities with several allegations of sexual abuse committed against residents.
Abuse in Arizona’s nursing homes has also become a growing concern in recent years, as many facilities that depend on Medicare funding suffer from understaffing and insufficiently trained staff members.
These issues often set the grounds for widespread abuse and neglect to occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and that those who suspect their loved one is being abused should immediately contact the proper authorities.
CNN’s Findings on Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
From 2010 to 2015, 226 U.S. nursing homes were cited for failing to protect residents in cases of confirmed sexual abuse charges, and nearly 60 percent of facilities were penalized with fines amounting to more than $9 million. However, only 16 nursing homes were permanently cut off from Medicare and Medicaid funding.
CNN’s investigation also found that:
- There were 386 claims of sexual abuse against nursing home residents in Illinois in 2013, 201 of which accused a caretaker of having committed the abuse. Only 59 claims were confirmed.
- From 2011 to 2015, eight claims of sexual abuse were investigated in Hawaii, five of which involved a care taker.
- In 2015, 251 complaints were filed against nursing homes in Texas regarding the sexual abuse of a resident; only 11 were confirmed.
Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Allegations Often Involve Caregivers and Staff Members
Nearly 25 percent of nursing home sexual abuse claims involved allegations against nurses, staff members or aides. A small number of claims involved a third-party, such as another resident, family member or an unknown assailant.
However, the most serious sexual assault allegations involved caregivers and nursing home staff. These claims included allegations of forced intercourse, oral sex and digital penetration, among other forms of abuse.
Legal Help for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
CNN’s investigation concluded that sexual assault in nursing homes is widespread throughout the U.S., yet is not receiving the level of attention needed to improve safety for elderly residents.
Most people place a great amount of trust in nursing homes and caregivers to protect and preserve the health of our elderly loved ones. There is no greater betrayal than to learn that your loved one has been abused by those trusted with his or her care.
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, contact our Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys for a free consultation to review your legal options. We will investigate and build your case on a contingency fee basis and will only charge you if we recover compensation.