Georgia and other states are confronting an increasing concern over the sexual abuse of nursing home residents. Advocates of long-term care residents recently announced that the problem requires institutions to set up procedures and safeguards for promptly reporting suspected abuse. A resident who is abused by a nursing home employee will have a personal injury claim for damages suffered.
If the abused resident dies as a result of the institutional neglect associated with the sexual abuse, the family of that resident will have a wrongful death claim for damages. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care recently conducted a seminar on the subject and at the same time released a related issue brief. There was great interest expressed in the subject, according to the executive director for the group.
It is reported that more than 800 complaints of sexual abuse in nursing homes were filed in 2016. Reportedly, women and those with dementia are most at risk. It is crucial that when a complaint of sexual abuse surfaces, it must be investigated quickly to obtain and preserve the evidence. The appropriate authorities must be officially notified and a thorough investigation must be carried out.
The executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care stressed that administrators and caregivers should listen to their residents and act accordingly. It is improper and negligent or worse to disbelieve a resident who complains of sexual abuse. Every complaint must be taken seriously, according to the organization. Support for the resident who has been abused is important, as well as taking swift action to report the allegations and initiate an investigation. In Georgia and all states, personal injury law recognizes nursing home negligence and abuse of residents to be a tort that is compensable to the victims.