Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms in San Diego County, from physical abuse to emotional or psychological abuse. While many families know the warning signs of physical abuse or passive neglect, such as restraint marks, bruises, or bedsores, knowledge about sexual abuse in the nursing home setting is less common. Yet a recent case in El Cajon serves as a warning about nursing home sexual abuse and the serious risks that seniors face. According to a recent report from KPBS News, a 73-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a staff member at the El Cajon nursing home, and the nursing home failed to take the necessary steps to hold the staff member accountable.
Nursing Assistant Sexually Abuses Elderly Patient
According to the report, the nursing home sexual abuse occurred at Avocado Post Acute nursing home in El Cajon, California. The 73-year-old patient who sustained the abuse described it as “one of the most horrifying experiences of her life.”
In June 2019, the patient was supposed to have a “routine early morning diaper change . . . by a nursing assistant at the facility.” When the patient asked the nursing assistant to stop touching her, she reported that “he kept telling me that he had to clean me.” The patient “kept saying, ‘no, you’re hurting me.’” According to her report, “he kept hurting me [and] I just went limp.” The patient immediately told caregivers at the facility about the violent incident and “made it clear she was sexually assaulted.” She specifically said she had been “sodomized,” according to the investigation conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
However, after reporting the assault, the other staff members did not take the patient seriously. Those staff members did not immediately report the allegations of abuse to management, as they are required to do under California law. When management at the facility did learn about the allegations, the facility failed to report those allegations to CDPH in a timely manner. Although the facility “did eventually file a report,” it was extremely late. When the CDPH conducted an investigation, it found that the facility has had many previous patient complaints and that the nursing assistant “had been accused of sexual misconduct at another nursing home before Avocado hired him.”
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
This case underscores that a facility’s failure to take allegations of sexual abuse seriously not only does harm to the patient targeted by the abuse, but to other nursing home patients who could be at risk.
The KPBS report underscores that the patient not only experienced sexual abuse in the nursing home at the hands of a nursing assistant, but the facility also failed to protect the patient after the abuse occurred. The case emphasizes the need for facilities to pay attention to sexual abuse risks, and to take clear and immediate action when a staff member has perpetrated any kind of abuse.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in San Diego County
If you have any concerns about an elderly adult in a nursing home, you should seek advice from an experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm to speak with one of our lawyers about your case.
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