When Jasper residents commit their loved ones to the care of a nursing home, they may do so well aware of the need to monitor their family member or friend’s interactions with staff members. Recent years has seen a marked increase in awareness of the issue of nursing home abuse and neglect, and many may worry that the caregivers at their loved ones’ facilities might be capable of such action. Yet while focusing on the actions of staff members, many fail to realize that they are overlooking an even larger number of people in the same building who could just as easily be abusers: the residents.
A recent lawsuit dealing with the sexual assault of an elderly woman living in a Pennsylvania nursing home specifically listed the perpetrator of the assault as another resident (indeed, the man ended up being criminally convicted of the offense). The facility’s staff apparently viewed the pair as being in a relationship, saying that the woman (who suffered from dementia) was happier and healthier when they were together. However, the administrators of the woman’s estate argue that the staff was indifferent to the actions that led to the assault. They point out that the perpetrator was a convicted sex offender, had threatened to rape another woman in the same facility, and had even been sexually aggressive towards the woman prior to the assault. Still, the two were allowed to be alone together, even with evidence showing some staff members believed the woman did not have the capacity to consent to the relationship.
One might certainly argue that a lack of supervision which leads to a nursing home resident being assaulted by another qualifies as neglect. Anyone looking to make such an argument may do well to enlist the services of an experienced attorney.
Source: The Legal Intelligencer “Lancaster Jury Awards $7.5M to Nursing Home Sexual Assault Victim” Mitchell, Max, May 08, 2018