As the population in America ages, more seniors will need to move to assisted living and full care facilities. It is estimated that from 2010 to 2050, the number of people over the age of 65 living in nursing homes will more than double. The quality of care available to seniors is coming into question after investigative reports by CNN and the Miami Herald found numerous instances of elder abuse around the country.
The report by CNN found that more than 1,000 nursing homes had been cited for failing to prevent or mishandling alleged incidents of sexual assault and abuse. The network examined government inspection data from 2013 to 2016 for their investigation and found in the three-year period, there were around 100 facilities that had multiple citations.
The victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes are among the most vulnerable, physically unable care for themselves, or cognitively impaired with conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Patients who can voice their accusations are often not taken seriously. The abusers are often their own caregivers who act during the night when few supervisors are on duty.
Nursing home staff are paid low wages, usually around $11 to $12 per hour, making it hard to attract dedicated and qualified caregivers. The staff often lack adequate training in recognizing the signs of sexual abuse, meaning that perpetrators can keep their jobs longer than they should. State and federal regulators claim to be aggressively investigating complaints, but fines are minimal. In some cases, fines are revoked because the financial burden on the facility makes it too difficult to remain in operation under the penalty. For many states, closing a long-term care facility is difficult because there is nowhere to accommodate misplaced patients.
Nationally, complaints of nursing home sexual abuse are on the rise, but lack of specific data makes it hard to track the problem. The Administration for Community Living in Washington, D.C. collects data from ombudsman programs in the 50 states. They are developing a new uniform reporting system for state agencies that should be ready by the end of 2019. The National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System will collect national data totals, including totals for sexual abuse, as the data available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services do not track sexual abuse separately.
Recognizing the Signs of Sexual Abuse
Recognizing abuse is the first step in stopping and preventing it from happening to someone else. If you notice any of these signs in an elderly patient, consult a medical professional and report your suspicions to the facility administrator and the police:
- Unusual stress or behavior when a specific person nears
- Withdrawal from social interactions or unexpected agitation
- Bruises in the inner thigh or genital area
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Ripped, stained, or bloody clothing, particularly undergarments
Red Bank Nursing Home Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Fight for Victims of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
If someone you love has been sexually abused due to the negligence at their care facility, contact the Red Bank nursing home lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. for experienced counsel about your case. We will fight to make sure your loved one receives justice and compensation for their suffering. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation.