Nursing homes are trusted to protect and care for the elderly when they need it most. Tragically, they sometimes fail this duty and allow vulnerable patients to be victimized. One of the most egregious ways in which this happens is when a nursing home patient is sexually abused. Nursing homes have an obligation to keep their residents reasonably safe, so there’s no excuse for this crime to occur. If a loved one has been victimized by a nursing home, the facility may be held liable. You need a Georgia nursing home sexual abuse attorney.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes can happen at the hands of a staff member, visitor, or another resident. Not all nursing homes properly screen these individuals before they come in contact with victims. Even though nursing homes are responsible for the safety of their residents, family members must remain vigilant.
The National Center on Elder Abuse recommends that family members keep an eye out for these and other signs:
- Bruises near the inner thighs, the genital area, or breasts
- Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain, or irritation
- Unusual difficulty sitting or walking
- Torn, stained, or bloodied underclothing
- Displays of extreme agitation
- Withdrawal from social situations
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
- Suicide attempts
- Unusual behavior between the victim and the alleged perpetrator
You should get help immediately if you suspect abuse has happened or is happening. First, call the police. Next, notify the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Georgia. The Ombudsman’s job is to investigate and resolve complaints involving nursing homes. Then, contact a skilled Georgia nursing home sexual abuse attorney. Your attorney will advise as to what steps you should take next, including preserving evidence if possible. The sooner you take action, the better.
Staying in constant contact with your loved one is essential to preventing sexual and other forms of abuse. Nursing home residents are far more likely to be victimized when family members are out of the picture. Predators often prey on isolated patients, knowing there is little if any chance of the abuse being discovered. You should call and visit your loved one regularly. Visit the nursing home at different times to fully understand how the facility works. Ask questions of the staff and management, and make it clear you are involved in the patient’s well-being. Talk to an experienced Georgia nursing home sexual abuse lawyer to learn more practical tips.
Nursing homes have to take reasonable precautions to keep their residents safe. This means, for example, doing proper background checks on staff members and nurses. If residents are admitted with psychiatric disorders or criminal histories, nursing homes owe this same duty. They should therefore monitor these residents to make sure they don’t hurt someone. Security protocols should be adopted to limit access to nursing home facilities and ensure the staff are aware of visitors. These are just some of the safeguards a facility may take to minimize the risk of sexual abuse.
If the nursing home fails to protect your loved one from abuse, it could be due to negligence. The facts and evidence surrounding the attack itself will need to be examined. So, too, will the facility’s policies and practices in effect at the time. For example, the nursing home may not have adequate resident supervision. Or, a door or gate may have been left unlocked and allowed someone from outside to access the grounds. Ask your Georgia nursing home sexual abuse attorney more about establishing negligence.
We Represent the Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Their Families
Schneider Hammers understands how devastating nursing home abuse can be for victims and their families. We are committed to holding negligent facilities responsible when someone is hurt. Call us today. We will investigate your claims and advise you and your family of your legal rights.