Nursing home abuse can take many different forms in San Diego County, including sexual abuse. In Southern California, nursing home residents can be victims of sexual abuse and assault perpetrated by other residents, as well as by staff members. According to a recent report from KPBS, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is supposed to be transparent in providing information about nursing homes and histories of abuse, yet a recent investigation suggests that records of sexual abuse contain “inaccuracies and omissions.” It is important to be able to recognize signs of nursing home sexual abuse and to consider filing a claim against the negligent facility where the abuse occurred.
California Department of Public Health’s Reporting of Sexual Abuse
The KPBS report discusses various incidents of sexual abuse in California nursing homes that have been identified as “enforcement actions” with findings of nursing home negligence. For example, the report discusses a case in which a woman in a nursing home alleged that she was raped by her caregiver. The investigation report, which can be found in the Cal Health Find Database, concludes that the nursing home where the sexual assault is alleged to have occurred “failed to provide a safe environment” for the resident. However, as the KPBS report points out, “one has to dig deep into what is known as CDPH’s ‘transparency website’ to find it.” Indeed, as the report underscores, the “main complaint page describes the attack as simply employee-to-resident abuse that was substantiated.”
The website is supposed to provide individuals and families with information to help them make choices about nursing home care. Indeed, the site should provide consumers with data concerning previous safety violations at a nursing home and the likelihood of abuse at a particular facility. While the KPBS investigation determined that the site did provide some of this information, the data on sexual abuse was problematic. When it comes to sexual abuse cases, the investigation turned up “mislabeling and errors,” which led some people to suggest that “CDPH might be intentionally hiding the details of sexual assault allegations to protect nursing homes.”
Between January 2019 and September 2022, the KPBS investigation determined that CDPH “substantiated at least 24 sexual assaults in 18 San Diego County nursing homes,” yet the website only identified “deficiencies” (rather than direct references to sexual abuse) in nine of those 18 cases.
Identifying Sexual Abuse in San Diego County Nursing Homes
It is important to be able to identify potential signs of sexual abuse in a nursing home. According to a fact sheet from the University of Southern California, the following are potential signs of sexual abuse:
- Bruises on the thighs, breasts, or genital area;
- Unexplained sexually transmitted infections;
- Unexplained vaginal or anal pain or bleeding;
- Difficulty walking or sitting;
- Torn or bloody underwear;
- Unexplained agitation;
- Withdrawal from social interactions or activities;
- Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, like panic attacks;
- Suicide attempts; and/or
- Any sudden or unexplained change in behavior.
Contact a San Diego County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety at a nursing home, you should get in touch with an experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyer who can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.
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