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The Issue of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

 Posted on July 10, 2018 in Sexual Abuse

Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysHardly a week goes by without another headline about the poor conditions or substandard care in nursing homes in Illinois and around the country. Staffing issues and a lack of resources often contribute to the problems, as nursing facilities often to struggle to care for their patients. There is, however, a particularly heinous issue that plagues many nursing homes: the problem of sexual abuse. While it may seem hard to believe, it is not unusual for sexual predators to victimize the most vulnerable members of our society.

Preying on Patients

It is almost unbelievable that any person would engage in acts of sexual abuse of a patient in a nursing home. Of course, that is exactly why abusers feel “safe.” In most cases where sexual abuse has been alleged, nursing home staff members, administrators, and even the believe were reluctant to believe the victims or their advocates. In other cases, the victims were simply unable to remember that they were abused or could not communicate their experiences to anyone else due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.  

Sexual abuse in the context of a nursing home can take many forms, including:

  • Unwanted or unsolicited touching, including genital and non-genital areas;
  • Forced nudity;
  • Suggestive or explicit photographs of the patient;
  • Rape or sodomy; and
  • Sexual harassment.

The risk of sexual abuse in a nursing home is greater for elderly residents who may be weakened by age or illness. Those who are isolated from outside family members and those with physical or cognitive disabilities are also at an increased risk. Women are more at risk than men, but sexual abuse can happen to anyone.

Perpetrators of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

As you might expect, nursing home staff members generally have the most personal access to extremely vulnerable patients. Caregivers are often underpaid and overworked, but most are good people who want to help those in need. Some, however, are more inclined to take advantage of the situation, and hiring practices often fail to screen out potential predators.

Staff members are not the only people who can commit sexual abuse in a nursing home setting. Other residents of the nursing home can also present a danger. In some cases, abuse by other patients is affected by the perpetrator’s own mental disabilities and lack of inhibition. In others, patients intentionally prey on those they see as weaker. In either case, the nursing home could still be held responsible for failing to provide adequate supervision.

Call Us for Help

If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse while in a nursing home, an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse attorney can help you take action. We will investigate your claims and assist you in ensuring that your loved one’s rights are fully protected. Call 312-535-4625 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.



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