There are some things in life that are just so bad that we rarely even think of them as being possible. Sexual abuse of an elderly person in a nursing home is one of those things.
Elderly individuals deserve nothing but utmost respect and care, and to think that any elderly person in a nursing home in the United States would suffer, during their time of need, from someone who is entrusted to care for them is just unbearable. It’s unthinkable, truly.
And yet it may happen much more frequently than we’d ever expect.
Such is the case with a female staff member in a Sartell, Minnesota nursing home who is accused of sexually abusing three elderly patients with dementia.
According to a new state Health Department investigation, employees saw the staff member touch and also make inappropriate comments about elderly residents’ genitals multiple times, including the inappropriate touching of one elderly woman with dementia’s breast and inappropriate comments like “I just love to touch [her].”
Apparently, these employees reported the abuse to their higher ups, however the abuse continued and no swift action was taken by their supervisors. Which of course led to: employees again witnessing the same staff member abusing the same elderly woman later on in the same month.
In addition, the staff member was seen fondling at least one other dementia resident’s breasts. When a fellow coworker told her to stop, she simply ignored them.
Then, the staff member was seen fondling an elderly male with dementia’s genitals. The man was heard yelling “Stop!” — and yet the staff member continued, claiming she was “cleaning him.”
Why would a staff member abuse an elderly person with dementia? Because she thinks she can get away with it; because she knows the person has little ability in speaking up, and even a slighter ability in being taken seriously.
Why would nursing home administration fail to listen to reports of sexual abuse?Because it’s easier to not listen, it’s easier to avoid taking action.
When we allow serious cases of sexual abuse like this to continue, the abuse can only get worse. In fact, it took at least 35 days after the alleged abuse for the staff member to be suspended. 35 days, days in which she was “allowed” to continue the abuse — and did.
Now that a state Health Department investigation has begun, police have forwarded at least one case to prosecutors for potential felony charges. In addition, state investigators have gone so far as to place necessary blame on the nursing home’s operators for the abuse, saying that the employees had failed to follow internal policies by continuing to allow the staff member to care for vulnerable elderly residents.
We couldn’t agree more.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes is a legitimate threat that you need to be aware of if you have a loved one in a nursing home.
Here are the signs of sexual assault of the elderly to watch out for:
- Bruised breasts or buttocks
- Bloody or torn underwear
- Vaginal or anal bleeding
- Development of vaginal infections or venereal diseases
No matter how cautious we may be with our elderly loved ones in nursing homes, no matter how much we may continue to look out for the warning signs, not every case of elderly abuse in nursing homes can be prevented — not every case can be prevented, that is, until the nursing homes and their administrators step up and begin practicing the safe and proper care and supervision that they are required to perform.