It is unknown how many of our vulnerable elderly fall victim to neglect or abuse each year since such actions are easily hidden from view and underreported. In fact, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized.
The Ohio nursing home residents’ rights include “the right to be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse and to be treated at all times with courtesy, respect, and full recognition of dignity and individuality.”
A nursing home infringes upon this right when any type of abuse occurs. This includes sexual assault.
The National Council of Aging defines sexual abuse as, “touching, fondling, intercourse or any other sexual activity with an older adult when the older adult is unable to understand, is unwilling to consent or when the aggressor threatens the victim or forces contact.” Other types of elderly sexual abuse include:
Many nursing home residents are vulnerable to abuse due to a variety of reasons. Some individuals have trouble communicating, others don’t have full mobility to get around. Those who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, a physical disability or experience social isolation or neglect are at an increased risk for abuse. Residents are even more vulnerable during night shifts when they are sleeping and there is less supervision and staff on duty.
In the majority of elder sexual abuse cases in Cleveland, the perpetrator was the caregiver or nursing home staff member. Sexual abuse incidents are also occasionally caused by other residents, facility visitors, family members or strangers.
In Cleveland, nursing home residents may suffer from memory loss, confusion, or issues with communication which can make identifying sexual abuse incidents more difficult. To help identify possible sexual assault, friends and family members should look out for these following signs:
Report any incident of suspected sexual assault to law enforcement.
Oftentimes, facilities don’t properly train nursing home staff and administrators to identify sexual abuse. They do not know how to handle suspected or reported incidents as a result. Facilities should take the following steps to ensure safety for nursing home residents:
Nursing home employees have a lot of one-on-one time with residents and certain daily routines require intimate contact for activities such as bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, and additional hygiene regimens. Families and their loved ones in the facility trust the staff that they will help and not abuse the elderly individuals in their care. Before hire, nursing home employees must be properly screened and have background checks run to ensure that they don’t have any prior criminal convictions or red flags. Facilities should monitor staff to make sure they are not abusing their power over residents.
Any form of sexual abuse is an extraordinarily serious matter. It is important to notify the authorities immediately. Therefore, if you need help filing a Cleveland nursing home sexual abuse claim, take action right away and contact our experienced nursing home mistreatment lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter. We are ready to listen to advise you on the best course of action. Call for a free consultation. You can also reach out online. We will promptly respond back to you. We can come to you and we can meet you whenever is convenient, including weekends and evenings.