Senior centers are supposed to be places where the elderly can receive much needed medical care and comfort.
An investigation by CBS46, however, uncovered a disturbing truth: incidents of sexual assault in assisted living facilities either go unreported or are ignored.
According to data pulled from Medicare, at least six nursing homes in Georgia reported cases of sexual abuse. They were fined by the Department of Health and Human Services for failing to properly report the cases and take necessary steps to prevent the assaults.
Here are three:
- A male resident at Clinch Healthcare Center in Homerville, Georgia, often exposed himself to others. He has also been found in other residents' beds, forcing them to engage in unwanted sexual activity.
- A resident in LaGrange Health and Rehab inappropriately touched others by reaching into their pants.
- A male resident repeatedly groped female residents at Chulio Hills Health and Rehab in Rome, Georgia. He was also reported for several violent incidents, including punching another resident.
Such cases are much more common than most people realize. And they often go unreported for various reasons.
Residents may be fearful of retaliation, either by another resident or a staff member. They may also suffer from memory problems.
There is also the ongoing problem of inadequate staffing. Sexual abuse sometimes occurs because there isn't enough staff to monitor every resident's activities.
Cases may also go unprosecuted because the evidence is lost or destroyed when residents are cleaned or the abuse is covered up by management.
And while employees at long-term care centers undergo background checks and residents who are sex offenders must disclose their status, there are no laws requiring other residents to be notified if a sex offender is admitted to a facility.
What's more, dozens of registered sex offenders currently live in Georgia nursing homes.
Read More: Falls and Fractures in Nursing Homes
Advocating for Elderly Victims of Sexual Assault
In the last two years, there were 49 cases of sexual or physical abuse across the state of Georgia. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we help families frustrated by assisted living facilities inability or unwillingness to investigate or believe sexual abuse allegations. Our attorneys ensure the victim and their families are heard by police and that their case is taken seriously.
For a caregiver to harm an elderly patient or for a nursing home to ignore or cover up repeated abuse by a resident is a violation of the sacred trust given to long-term care facilities.
Contact us as soon as you become aware of any sexual assault allegations. The quicker our firm can investigate, the more evidence is available.
We'll work to hold the assailant and facility accountable. Call 770-934-8000 today.