Nursing homes are supposed to keep residents safe. That is their first duty. When considering that charge, most immediately envision providing basic support to account for particular ailments (preventing falls, ensuring proper nutrition, and similar tasks). However, there is actually an even more basic task that seems so obvious it is almost forgotten: preventing seniors from being hurt by others.
Unfortunately, time and again seniors are harmed by those around them, from fellow residents to others who enter the facility. When a resident is harmed in this way, then the facility can often be held responsible for negligently failing to provide proper protection.
Sex Offender in the Nursing Home
For example, The Des Moines Register reported recently on a nursing home administrator hit with a fine after failing to act appropriately to protect seniors in the home from a fellow resident that was a convicted sex offender.
According to reports, the attacking resident previously lived in “civil commitment unit for sex offenders.” The man was in the sex offender unit for eight years as a result of convictions in at least four different sex offense cases. After his release from the unit he was admitted directly to the nursing home. But less than a year later the man was caught engaging in the same conduct at the long-term care facility. Specifically, the report claims that an 8-year old girl at the home witnessed the man fondling a 95-year old female resident. The victim in the case was trying to call for help during the assault.
The attacking resident was not officially prosecuted, but he was instead transferred to a correctional facility. He admitted that he assaulted the senior resident.
The article reports that the administrator of the facility at first told other employees not to mention the incident to anyone. However, investigations were eventually conducted by local regulatory bodies. The facility itself was fined $10,000 and the individual administrator was eventually fined $500 for her failure to protect residents.
In addition, the family of the 95-year old victim (who has since passed away) filed a civil lawsuit against those involved to seek accountability and redress. That civil suit is pending.
Senior Sex Crimes
This recent is example is not an outlier. Sexual assault are far too common in long-term care facilities, perpetrated by fellow residents, caregivers, or even assailants to sneak into the facility. When it comes to resident-on-resident attacks, facility administrators have a responsibility to understand risks ahead of time, particularly when it comes to convicted sexual offenders given free reign in the home. It is unacceptable to simply admit these residents without telling anyone, properly training caregivers on the risks, or taking any other steps to prevent attacks.
The attorneys at our firm have worked with many families over the years whose loved ones have been harmed in resident-on-resident attacks. In almost all cases, close analysis of the situation shows that the facility operators committed errors and oversights which contributed to the attack. This is never acceptable. Be sure to protect the rights of your friends and loved ones.
See Other Blog Posts: