When placed in nursing homes or other assisted-living facilities, our beloved family members should be able to enjoy their last years in peace. However, the incidence of abuse and neglect in nursing homes appears to be increasing at an alarming rate.
Was a loved one the victim of abuse in a nursing home? You're likely wondering:
Our experienced injury attorneys are prepared to answer these questions and any other. We handle all manner of injury cases, from slip and fall lawsuits to worker's comp claims, and know what it takes for our clients to get justice and closure.
Despite the need for care facilities and nursing homes, the system is hampered by problems. In New Jersey, there have been countless cases of seniors being sexually assaulted at the same facilities that should be bolstering their health.
When victimized seniors speak out, we need to take them seriously. Officials at regulatory agencies and nursing homes need to step up their investigations into past allegations of elder sexual abuse within their walls and reprimand those who have committed such offenses.
Often, people don't think a nurse, administrative staff member, or even other visitors to the home would be capable of such a terrible crime. This is exactly why these claims must be taken seriously and why individuals, as well as entire institutions, must face accountability for the crimes and negligence.
There is often little justice available for victims of nursing home sexual assaults. Elderly people often constitute easy targets for predators who commit these crimes, seeing as how mental conditions can prevent others from believing victims' claims.
Moreover, nursing homes have for a long time worked to quiet claims of abuse on their premises; such negative press can prevent future customers from coming to them for care. Towards this end, they may not take the right steps to weed out abusers from their staff nor ask the authorities to prosecute when cases of abuse are discovered.
It's not just nursing home employees who commit sexual assaults against residents. For instance, the same family members of residents are often involved in these cases. While the relationship exists between the victim and abuser, it does not mean that abuse is something that should be overlooked. Nursing homes still have the duty to protect their residents no matter who is taking advantage of their condition.
Other residents in nursing homes have also been known to abuse their neighbors. Many assisted-living facilities are co-ed with residents of both genders spending many hours together. While consensual relationships often develop in these settings, a resident may still abuse another by means of nonconsensual sexual contact in these environments. Again, the residents who victimize others often select those who are physically weak, have mental health conditions, or have little to no verbal skills. Ultimately, a large majority of these crimes could be prevented if the nursing home has sufficient staff that has been properly trained.
Lastly, intruders to the facility often gain access by exploiting weaknesses or via social engineering, all with the goal of abusing residents. Nursing homes should have strict safeguards for preventing unwarranted individuals from accessing their premises. If the carelessness of a security guard or the lack of adequate safety measures leads to intrusion and abuse, facilities can be held liable by victims.
It is essential that nursing homes take more precautions against abuse. It is equally important to treat an elder sexual assault or abuse accusation as you would treat one made by a child.
A nursing home can be considered negligent if:
As widespread a problem as sexual assault is in nursing homes, there is no excuse for it. Our senior citizens deserve dignity and respect in their golden years and we must fight to provide it.
In areas where you have been disappointed by state regulatory agencies, the criminal justice system, or nursing home staff, a civil lawyer can help. If the nursing home committed crimes, they should be investigated to ensure that each step is taken to prevent further incidents and to punish those who already allowed it to happen.
In the future, if enough people speak out about this crisis, there may be reform as more lawsuits achieve success in the courts. The more nursing homes are forced to improve, the less suffering there will be from sexual assaults and abuse. Legal action can also help you and your loved one to get the compensation you need to heal.
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