Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes -Prevent It!
Nursing homes have become the only practical option for many aging Americans. Nursing homes should be safe havens for the elderly. Sadly, many residents suffer from physical and cognitive impairments, which makes them particularly vulnerable to elder abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect are very real problems throughout America’s nursing homes. Between one and two million cases of elder mistreatment occur each year. If you or a loved one has been the victim of Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home Contact your California Elder Abuse Attorney today.
The most despicable form of all the different forms of abuse is sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult form of abuse to detect. According to a Congressional Report, between 1999 and 2001, almost one in three nursing homes (5283 facilities) were cited for abuse violations, and over 2500 of the 9000 total violations caused actual harm to the residents or placed them in danger of death or serious injury. In 2004 and 2005, the California Elder Abuse Prevention Program received a total of 44,701 complaints regarding sexual abuse from nursing home residents. The NCEA found that the likelihood of abuse is greater in facilities with high percentages of residents suffering from dementia and those with low staff ratios.
To determine whether you or your loved one has been subject to sexual abuse in nursing homes, let’s begin with the definition. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines elderly sexual abuse as “non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person” or “sexual contact with any person incapable of giving consent.” This definition includes “unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.” California, specifically defines sexual abuse as non-consensual sexual contact.
Strategies to Help Prevent Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Here are some helpful tips provided by the NCEA. It focuses on collaboration between various players in the industry including nursing home Administrators, the ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, and the state licensing entities:
1) The first step is to assemble a team of advocates who will work together on risk prevention.
2) Negotiate an agreement with team members, which clearly defines roles and responsibilities and explicitly states goals.
3) Gain input through open communication and brainstorming with team members.
4) Discuss and seek out a fuller understanding of abuse risks in the nursing home.
5) Generate creative ideas for prevention of abuse.
6) Build consensus and agree on action steps and a plan for follow-up.
7) Combine knowledge, perspectives and skills to reduce risks.