A recent Chicago Tribune article called attention to a little-recognized but important problem among nursing home patients: physical and sexual violence between patients. As our Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorneys know, mentally ill or diminished patients in particular pose a risk to other patients if not properly medicated and supervised. The Chicago Tribune took a look at this problem and published some disturbing results Jan. 26. According to the article, authorities have investigated 86 cases of sexual violence in Chicago nursing homes since 2007, in a quarter of the city’s homes. Despite all of those investigations, authorities made an arrest in only one case.
In the majority of the cases, elderly or disabled female residents were attacked by male residents. Only a few cases involved attacks by staff, although the one prosecution the newspaper found was of an orderly. The Tribune said attacks were more likely in homes that housed a high percentage of younger mentally ill people who had been convicted of crimes, some of them violent crimes. Of the 30 homes where sexual assaults happened, 21 were federally rated as below average or well below average on staffing levels. In one case, a 61-year-old woman yelled “No, no, please” as she was assaulted by a 47-year-old man with a history of “inappropriate sexual behavior,” but said she was too scared to fight back. The home’s police report, filed months later, said she described the sex as consensual.
These stories are deeply disturbing to Philadelphia nursing home negligence lawyers like us. Most stories of nursing home abuse focus on abuses of power by staff, but as this article shows, abuses by other residents can and do happen. Every nursing home resident has a basic right to be safe in his or her home. Homes that fail to provide adequate protection not only fail in their basic duties, but leave themselves vulnerable to administrative or criminal penalties and nursing home negligence lawsuits.
Rosenbaum & Associates is proud to represent victims of neglect, abuse and other forms of negligence by nursing homes. For a free, confidential consultation on your case, please call us toll-free at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 or contact us through the Internet today.