A disturbing case of alleged sexual abuse of a nursing home resident in Minnesota is even more egregious because the former nursing home staff member had been investigated for prior alleged incidences of sexual abuse in other nursing homes. Minnesota officials investigated the sexual abuse allegations and the Minnesota state investigators issued a report regarding the alleged sexual abuse of the female resident that occurred repeatedly over a period of several months, including allegations of oral sex and fondling.
When the alleged abuser was questioned, he reportedly denied the allegations of sexual abuse and told the investigators that the resident sometimes did not make sense and thought that the former staffer was going to marry her. However, other nursing home staff members reported that the woman was “alert and oriented” and had expressed to them that “she just wanted it over.” What is clear is that the female resident had limited mobility and needed assistance with dressing, bathing, and with her bathroom needs.
While the nursing home staff member was fired by the nursing home, a decision whether to file criminal charges against the man has not been made yet. The nursing home was not held responsibility for the alleged sexual abuse because the state investigators evidently determined that it had properly trained its former employee regarding abuse and mistreatment and promptly fired him when the sexual abuse allegations were made.
Nursing homes are required to provide a safe environment for their residents and to provide timely medical care consistent with the needs of their residents. Nursing homes are also required to properly train and supervise their employees to make sure that the proper care is being given to the residents and that the residents are not subjected to abuse or mistreatment.
When hiring their employees, nursing homes are also required to do the proper criminal and background checks to insure that prospective employees are properly licensed to perform the work they are being hired to do and to make sure that the new employees do not pose a danger to the residents.
Nursing homes are required to properly train their employees to prevent, recognize, and report suspected incidences of abuse or mistreatment of residents by other employees, other residents, and visitors to the nursing home. States have designated agencies or departments that are responsible to inspect, investigate, and discipline nursing homes as required by federal and state regulations. The results of inspections and investigations into complaints are maintained by the nursing homes and are available for review by the public at the nursing homes during normal business hours (residents are not identified in the reports by name or otherwise personally identifiable information but are usually referred to as “Resident No. 3” or the like).
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are inexcusable. Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable because of their physical and/or mental conditions. Many nursing home residents either cannot report their abuse or neglect because of dementia or other mental or physical conditions or fail to report their abuse or neglect because they fear retribution or further injuries from their abusers, which is understandable because the residents must rely on their caregivers for their daily needs such as taking their proper medications at the proper times, for their nutrition (food) needs, proper hydration (liquids), toileting needs (help getting to and from the bathroom, catheter care, or use of a bed pan), and tranfers from bed to a chair, etc.
What Should You Do If You Suspect That Your Family Member Is Being Abused Or Neglected In A Nursing Home?
Some possible suggestions (check with a local lawyer regarding the rights of nursing home residents and their family members in your state if nursing home neglect or abuse is suspected):
Obtain and review a copy of the nursing home’s written resident’s rights statement at the time of the nursing home admission.
Speak with the resident alone in a location and at a time when the resident will feel the most secure and at ease. Listen carefully not only to what the resident says, but also observe his demeanor to determine if he is frightened. If the resident has a roommate, the roommate or the roommate’s visitors may also be a source of information regarding suspected abuse or neglect.
Regularly check for unexplained bruising or injuries that may be a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Meet and speak with the nursing home’s Director of Nursing and/or the Director/Manager/Owner of the nursing home to address concerns about past suspected abuse or neglect and future care.
Contact the police if a criminal act against a nursing home resident may have occurred (the nursing home may be required to contact the police or other authorities if and when it becomes aware of certain allegations involving the alleged treatment of its residents).
File a formal complaint with the state agency responsible to inspect nursing homes and to investigate claims of nursing home abuse or neglect to resolve serious or dangerous conditions that the resident is experiencing at the nursing home.
Some states may provide the option of placing a video surveillance camera in a nursing home resident’s room under certain circumstances (thoroughly investigate your state’s laws to make sure what you can or can’t do in this regard before deciding to take this step).
Last, but not least, consult with a medical malpractice attorney in your state to discuss your concerns and to discuss how you should proceed under the specific circumstances of your situation.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you, your family, and the nursing home resident with a claim against the nursing home for nursing home neglect or abuse.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.