A Very Disturbing Crime Directed against Defenseless People

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Nursing Homes | 0 comments

There are more than 15,000 nursing home facilities in the U.S. that shelter more than 1.5 million resident elders, the physically or mentally incapacitated, and those in need of rehabilitative therapy due to illness or accident. These facilities are expected to provide residents the quality care and attention expected and required by the law, and assistance in daily activities, which include bathing, toileting, dressing and eating.

To ensure protection for all 1.5 million nursing home residents, the U.S. Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act into law in 1987. This Act orders nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid or those that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to provide services and activities that will help attain or maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of every resident in accordance with a written plan of care. The Act also mandates that residents should be free from corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion and all forms of abuses, including, but not limited to, verbal, physical, mental abuse, and sexual abuse.

Despite this law, however, nursing home abuse continue to be committed against residents. In fact a study conducted by the House Government Reform Committee’s Special Investigations Division revealed about 9,000 instances of abuse in more than 5,200 nursing homes just within a span of two years (from January 1999 to January 2001).

The most common reasons why these abuses are committed include lack or qualified and/or properly trained staff, very demanding needs of the residents, overworked personnel, the defenselessness of the victims and, the major intent of many staff members to simply earn and not take care of their helpless and/or aging residents.

Elder sexual abuse, specifically, is the non-consensual or unwanted physical or sexual contact with an elderly person. The ways this abuse can be committed may be through unwanted touching, rape, sexual photography, forced nudity, and sexual assault and battery. It can be committed by staff workers or by a victim’s co-resident, who may be acting on his/her own volition or who may be forced by staff workers to commit the act of abuse; in rare cases, however, abuses may also be committed by visiting relatives.

Nursing home sexual abuse is a very disturbing crime since this is directed against defenseless people whose care has been entrusted to those who promised to provide quality care and service, but who, instead have become perpetrators of the worst kind of abuse. For the sake, safety and dignity of nursing home residents, it will be necessary to bring to justice and hold accountable these abusers; a highly-competent nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help in this legal pursuit.

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