Nursing homes need to prevent sexual assaults of residents and they can be held liable if they fail says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.
Sexual assaults occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities because residents are vulnerable and there are sexual predators willing and able to abuse them. Residents may be the victims of these crimes committed by staff, other residents or visitors to the facility. There are a number of things family members can do if a loved one has suffered through a sexual assault says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.
A sexual assault would not only be a violation of that person’s rights but a crime so law enforcement should be contacted. If you don’t witness the attack or your loved one can’t or won’t tell you about it there are some signs you can look out for:
- Your loved one’s behavior may change.
- He or she may be depressed, withdrawn or angry.
- A sexually transmitted disease may be diagnosed.
- He or she may be fearful in general or display fear of the assailant in particular.
- There may be bruises or physical pain.
If you have reason to believe your loved one has been sexually assaulted you need to contact nursing home management and the local police. You should also contact a nursing home abuse attorney so steps can be taker to protect your loved one, including finding another facility, and start investigating how this happened. Not only does your family member need to be protected the same attacker may also be victimizing others.
If you find yourself in this situation where your parent or loved one, whom you entrusted to a nursing home, has been sexually assaulted by an employee you have a legal remedy that you may pursue against the facility for failing to protect your loved one from harm.
The facility steps in as their caretaker, their guardian and their jobs are similar to that of a parent so they have to protect their residents. They must make sure they have adequate shelter, receive medical care and make sure that those providing care are not predators and are not there to harm residents, including sexually.
If an employee is the assailant, legally, it’s as if the facility itself harmed your parent under the legal theory of vicarious liability. The facility stands in the shoes of its employee and is responsible for any bad acts that they commit while in the course of their employment.
A facility could also be found liable for negligence for:
- Not properly supervising the employee.
- If a reasonable background check would’ve found the person could be a threat but that search wasn’t done or wasn’t done sufficiently, the person was hired and put in a position where they could harm residents.
If your loved one was victimized by another resident the facility could also be held responsible because your family member was not kept safe, the attacker was not properly supervised and perhaps there was evidence that resident could be dangerous but the facility chose to admit him or her anyways and didn’t take sufficient steps to protect other residents, adds nursing home neglect lawyer Osborne.
Many residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities suffer from psychiatric disorders or some form of dementia. If such a person attacks your loved one the fact the attacker may not understand what he or she is doing doesn’t relieve a facility of responsibility. They have an obligation to protect every resident.
A parent in a nursing home should be protected from residents who suffer from mental illness because that nursing home is required to be aware of the medical history, including the mental health history, of each and every patient. They need to develop and put into action a plan of care which will protect residents from each other.
If they fail to do so and your parent is harmed by a resident lacking mental capacity there can be a viable cause of action against the facility for failure to protect your mother or father from a terrible harm that they have an obligation to prevent.
If you or a family member have questions about nursing home neglect or abuse, including possible sexual assault in the South Florida area contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.