Several times a year the Illinois Department of Public Health releases a “Nursing Home Violator’s” list. As the name implies, this list uses state inspection information to share details about nursing homes that were cited by officials for any manner of care violations. Helpfully, the full reports are made available for public to view so that anyone can get a feel for exactly what the inspectors found in the home which violated state caregiving rules.
Browsing the list and viewing some of the more severe cases is a good way to understand the scope of negligent nursing home caregiving issues facing senior residents.
Failure to Report Suspicions of Sexual Abuse
For example, one recent report explained citations issued against Bronzeville Park Nursing and Living Center at 3400 South Indiana in Chicago. The facility was surveyed earlier this year, and was ultimately hit with a $12,500 fine.
The main issue was the facility’s failure to report and properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse involving a resident with dementia.
According to the report the resident in question faces severe physical ailments on top of her cognitive impairment caused by dementia. At one point, an employee entered the resident’s room and noticed the resident’s family member groping the senior inappropriately. The employee, a rehabilitation aide, reported what she saw to three others, including a supervising nurse. The nurse denies being told of the incident on the date that it occurred. The actual administrator of the facility was not notified.
Two months later, something similar happened. The report explains that another employee, a nursing assistant, saw the same family member kissing the resident on the mouth in an aggressive manner. The employee noted that the family member appeared drunk. Yet, despite all of this, the attacker was still allowed to remain with the senior who was again witnessed being assaulted later in the day.
Several other incidents were also identified in the report, all with the same theme–the family member engaged in some form of inappropriate sexual conduct with the senior resident. In all instances, one employee noted that they reported the incident to a supervisor, while the supervisor denied receiving the information.
Ignoring the Problem & Delaying Action
After conducting its investigation, the state officials cited the home for failure to act in a timely fashion and follow its own protocols with regards to potential sexual abuse. As seems obvious, the facility should have acted immediately upon learning of the abuse. The resident should have been brought to the hospital for examination, and every reasonable step should have been taken to ensure the alleged-attacker did not have access to the senior.
Sadly, this sort of problem is not unique. Suspicions of abuse or neglect are often ignored by staff members. At times one staff member may report the incident to superiors who then do nothing. Far too often there is a long delay between an incident and actual action on the part of caregivers. The well-being of the resident in the intervening time is ignored. This sort of conduct cannot be tolerated.
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