Huntington Beach Nursing Home Lawyer
Sexual abuse of seniors is a frightening reality in our society today. It can happen in even the swankiest, most affluent hospitals and nursing homes. This form of abuse happens more than anyone would care to admit and it is widely unreported. If you have a loved one in a Huntington Beach nursing home, it may be in your best interest to understand the causes of sexual abuse in nursing homes, the different types of sexual abuse and the many potential signs and symptoms of sexual abuse.
Causes of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Many elderly people are moved to a nursing facility because they can no longer care for themselves. This means that many nursing home residents are relatively defenseless and vulnerable. They may depend on nursing staff to be bathed, dressed and fed. This makes elderly residents at risk of being victimized by certain individuals who could exploit them in many ways including sexually. It is the responsibility of the facility to conduct background checks for their employees and to know when an applicant has a criminal history of sex crimes such as rape, assault or lewd behavior. When a nursing home, for example, knowingly hires a sex offender, the facility may be held liable for any incidents caused by that employee.
Types of Sexual Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home sexual abuse encompasses any form of nonconsensual sexual contact with a resident. The many forms of sexual abuse include:
- Sexual coercion
- Forced nudity
- Sexual explicit photographing
- Forced viewing of pornography
- Any sexually suggestive act that is offensive or that makes the other person uncomfortable
Sexual abuse of a vulnerable or defenseless patient may involve a staff member, a visitor, a stranger or even another resident. When sexual abuse involves a visitor or stranger, it may reflect a lack of security at the facility. When it involves a staff member, it may reflect a lack of due diligence during the hiring process.
Some cases involve a dangerous staff member who was fired from another facility before being hired by another. Nursing homes that fail to vet their applicants, fail to check references and fail to conduct background checks put their residents in danger. Once hired, all employees should be closely monitored and supervised and any and all complaints of abuse must be taken seriously.
It is also important that facilities protect their residents from each other. Troubled individuals may take advantage of others in the facility who are not as physically capable as they are.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Tragically, victims of sexual abuse often become withdrawn, embarrassed or intimidated. Many victims fail to step forward and others are often kept quiet through intimidation by the individual responsible for their suffering. Family members should be on the lookout for physical symptoms such as unusual bruising or bleeding. Questions must be asked if the resident gets a sexually transmitted disease. Some victims of sexual abuse may be uncomfortable standing or walking. Any time there is a physical ailment that is unexplained or not included on the medical reports, it may be a red flag that wrongdoing has occurred.
Many victims are so traumatized by the abuse that their personality changes. Visitors should take note if their loved one undergoes a sudden change in demeanor. Many victims become depressed or easily agitated. Others may refuse to see visitors or become despondent or even suicidal. It is important to recognize these changes and to ask questions.
Contacting a Huntington Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you worry that your family member or loved one has been sexually abused while in the care of a nursing home, please contact the local law enforcement authorities to file a complaint. It would also be in victims’ best interests to seek the counsel of an experienced Huntington Beach nursing home abuse lawyer. The knowledgeable Huntington Beach nursing home abuse lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have successfully handled sensitive cases against nursing homes on behalf of victims and their families. Nursing homes are tasked with the important responsibility of protecting these vulnerable seniors. Failing to do so is simply unacceptable. If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse or any other form of nursing home abuse or neglect, please call us at 949-203-3814 or contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.