Lake Emory Post Acute Care in Inman, SC, has been cited for failing to protect residents from sexual abuse.
A nursing home resident with a “well-documented history of sexually abusive behavior” sexually abused another resident.
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) saw the resident with a history of sexually inappropriate behavior leaning out of their wheelchair and touching a female resident inappropriately. After being groped, the second resident was not injured. Both residents were cognitively impaired.
The families of both residents were notified afterward.
Similar instances of inappropriately touching other residents were documented within the resident’s file from previous months. When nursing staff members had seen this happen, they intervened and separated the resident from others.
There were three separate instances of the resident sexually abusing other residents through inappropriate touching and additional statements about this resident touching themselves in public while watching and groping female residents. Despite this known pattern of behavior, the facility never relocated the resident away from those they had abused.
A resident who witnessed one of these instances of sexual abuse said “I’m scared,” and began to cry.
These instances were only noted in the resident’s nurses’ notes, with no mention of the names of the residents who had been sexually abused. There was no evidence that the incidents were investigated or reported.
The facility changed the resident’s care plan to allow them time to spend alone but did not address the resident’s predatory behavior in any way. The female residents of this nursing home were put at risk.
This nursing home not only failed to protect residents from abuse once but showed a callous lack of care by putting female residents at risk for an extended period of time. The first incident documented occurred four weeks before the resident was discharged from the facility. In this time at least three female residents were groped and others were stared at while the resident touched themselves.
Sexual abuse is a problem in nursing homes throughout the country. Victims do not always have the ability to recount the incidents or to identify who attacked them. In this case, nursing home staff witnessed the incident and the attacker was eventually discharged from the facility, but the victim was not able to identify the person who touched her.
Unfortunately, it is common for nursing homes to be slow to report and investigate instances of abuse and alleged abuse. Administrators are reluctant to believe victims or may show an inclination to hide evidence that would reflect poorly on their facilities and hurt profits.
This reluctance to believe victims and to fully protect residents puts the most vulnerable adults at risk of assault from other residents and nursing home caregivers, who may be allowed to return to the facility and continue working there. A system that prioritizes the nursing home’s reputation over a victim’s safety makes it easy for perpetrators to escape consequences.
There is no way to easily track the prevalence of nursing home sexual abuse in the United States. There is no federal database or tracking system, and most states are not able to say how many allegations of abuse included sexual abuse. There are citations like the one used in this post which report on deficiencies cited in nursing home facilities, but these citations only cite deficiencies that have been substantiated by the surveyor.
The best way to protect a loved one in a nursing home is to stay involved in their lives and visit often. Stop by at different times of the week so that staff are not tempted to provide good care only before you are known to visit. Learn the signs of nursing home sexual abuse, which could include physical injuries like unexplained STDs, bruises, or bleeding or emotional signs like anxiety, depression, or abrupt changes in mood.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, we will provide a free, confidential case evaluation with no obligation to hire us. With nearly 250 years of shared experience, Joye Law Firm attorneys are consistently recognized by clients and peers at the highest level of professional excellence. We make sure to fight hard for our clients and are honest with them every step of the way.