Residents of San Diego County nursing homes can be harmed by many different types of nursing home abuse and neglect, from intentional physical or emotional abuse to passive neglect resulting from understaffing. While it may not be as prevalent as certain types of abuse in skilled nursing facilities, sexual abuse is a serious problem in Southern California nursing homes and in facilities across the country. Different parties can perpetrate sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, from staff members to other residents. Even in circumstances in which other residents perpetrate acts of sexual assault, the nursing home may still be liable for failing to prevent those injuries. A recent sexual abuse case in a Seal Beach nursing home underscores the prevalence of sexual abuse in skilled nursing facilities and the need to hold nursing homes accountable.
Learning More About the Recent Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case in Southern California
According to a recent report from ABC News 7, an 85-year-old woman with dementia who is a resident of Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Southern California, was sexually assaulted by another resident at the facility. Staff members at the nursing home called the police in early March 2022 when they “heard a woman screaming and pushed through the door blocked by the suspect’s wheelchair and found the suspect on top of her, on her bed,” according to the report. It also indicated that, when the staff members were able to get into the room, they found the resident “engaging in acts against her [the other resident] of a sexual nature.” That resident had a prior history of serious domestic violence for which he spent time in prison.
Nursing homes have a duty to keep residents safe from acts of violence perpetrated by other residents. Indeed, in many circumstances, a facility may be liable for sexual assault or abuse perpetrated by one nursing home resident against another. The ABC News 7 report spoke with family members who have loved ones in the facility. Many people interviewed expressed concern about how a nursing home resident with a history of sexual violence could be allowed into the facility. Another noted that the facility appears to lack security measures.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
The recent case highlights the need to understand the real and serious risks of sexual abuse in nursing homes. According to a fact sheet from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Center on Elder Abuse at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, it is important to know the following about sexual abuse in nursing homes:
- Sexual abuse can take many different forms, including unwanted touching, rape, forced nudity, forced observation of pornography, or taking sexually explicit photographs, for example;
- Women residents are at greater risk of being the victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes, as are patients with dementia;
- Abusers can be anyone in contact with nursing home residents, including other residents, staff members, delivery and service workers, or friends or family members visiting the facility; and
- Signs of sexual abuse can vary widely, from physical symptoms like unexplained bleeding or sexually transmitted infections to panic attacks or agitation.
Contact a San Diego County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
If you have questions about filing a nursing home abuse claim for any type of abuse or neglect in a skilled nursing facility, one of our San Diego County nursing home negligence lawyers can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.
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