Nursing Home and Administrator Fined After Sexual Abuse of 95 Year Old Woman

When you think about a nursing home’s job, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? You may think about a facility’s duty to provide nursing and medical care to residents (keeping them clean, giving them medication, preventing accidents, etc.). While this may be true, there is actually a more basic and important job that nursing homes must do for all of their residents. Nursing homes must keep their residents safe, especially from being abused by other residents and nursing home staff.  When nursing homes do not prevent resident-on-resident attacks, they facility can be held responsible for negligently failing to provide proper protection.

A recent article in the Des Moines Register reported on a nursing home and administrator who were fined for failing to protect the facility’s residents from a fellow resident, a convicted sex offender.  According to the article, the resident was caught fondling a 95-year-old female resident while she cried out for help during the attack.  iowa_nursing_home_sanctionsThe assault happened less than a year after the man was transferred to the facility from a “civil commitment unit for sex offenders”.  Iowa authorities investigated the assault and fined the facility and it’s administrator for failing to protect the other residents from the known threat the sex offender posed to them. The family of the victim has also filed a lawsuit to hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for the attack.

Sexual assault in nursing homes happens more often than we want to believe. Nursing home administrators, management and staff have the responsibility to prevent any and all “resident-on-resident attacks”. Together, they must understand risks ahead of time and implement proper procedures to stop abuse before it happens. This is particularly true when it comes to convicted sexual offenders. There is no excuse to admit convicted sex offenders without telling anyone, evaluating risks, properly training caregivers and taking steps to prevent assaults. Keeping residents safe is a nursing home’s first job.

Earlier this year, Sugarman Law successfully represented the family of a woman who was attacked and killed by another resident in her assisted living facility.  The facility knew of the resident’s violent tendencies, but did nothing to protect the other residents from his ongoing attacks against residents and staff. We also won a case for a woman in a local nursing home who was assaulted by another resident and suffered a hip fracture. Nursing home abuse is unacceptable and against the law.

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