When you think about nursing home abuse and neglect often times you think of elderly residents being affected. Although the majority of the time that may be true, the sad reality is that residents of nursing homes vary in age and can be quite young. Recently, in Cleveland Ohio, police launched an investigation into whether a 29-year-old female resident of the Grande Oaks nursing home had been sexually assaulted.
This woman became a resident of the nursing home after a devastating car accident in 2006 caused her to require life support. The accident left this woman unable to move or communicate. . However, her parents noticed signs in their daughter that were atypical and became concerned. When they sent her to the hospital to be checked she was diagnosed with an STD. Outraged, the family sought answers and an investigation is currently underway to determine if this resident was the victim of a sexual assault.
The nursing home conducted their own investigation and determined that “nothing improper” had taken place at their facility. The nursing home determined that the issue arose prior to this woman becoming a resident at the nursing home. The State Health Department also conducted an investigation and found that the facility followed the appropriate procedures to prevent and respond to the incident. . However, a spokeswoman for the Health Department quickly pointed out that “it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” .
The investigation continues and will likely depend on the results of a rape kit as well as an examination of her prior medical records. .
This type of incident unfortunately confirms the need to pay close attention to your loved ones behavior while he/she is residing in a nursing home. This woman’s family knew she was acting out of the ordinary even though she could not tell them there was a problem. Her father indicated that “she got to the point where you couldn’t even touch her and she would just shake. I couldn’t touch her. Nobody could touch her.” . Although this woman could not express her feelings verbally, she was still able to communicate that something was wrong. The sudden change in her actions was a red flag and luckily her parents recognized it as such. It is important to be vigilant and try to observe any changes your loved one may be undergoing, especially if they are unable to communicate.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a problem that could potentially affect all of us at some point in our lives either directly or through a family member or friend. It is important that instances like this are reported, investigated and if appropriate, penalized in order to force nursing homes to hire appropriate caregivers and accept nothing less than excellent care for their residents.