CNN recently published a multi-part investigation into seriously disturbing cases of rape and sexual abuse by nursing assistants. They reported more than 1,000 nursing homes across the country had been cited for mishandling incidents where various forms of sexual abuse were suspected, including rape.
One part of the report followed the trail of a nursing aide who showed a pattern of being a serial sexual offender. CNN documented this suspected offender as he moved from one facility to another despite having a history of sexual abuse allegations against him. He continued to be employed in the nursing home profession.
The CNN report raised an extensive alarm with the public and within the nursing home industry. Many asked why more action isn’t being taken to prevent and stop sexual abuse against defenseless and vulnerable residents, some of whom can’t communicate what has happened to them and often not believed when they try.
CNN interviewed family members who believed their loved ones were being violated as well as nursing home employees who claim to be forced from their jobs for disclosing sexual abuse suspicions. They also spoke to advocates for the elderly and to industry insiders who agreed that immediate change is needed in regards to how alleged sexual abuse reports are handled.
The National Association of Health Care Assistants responded with a pledge to act. They stated to be “saddened and sickened by the CNN investigative report” and planned to increase training and education within its membership. They said this includes ensuring that nursing assistants know how to identify warning signs of potential abuse and the proper mechanism for reporting it to higher authorities.
But dealing with higher authorities might become more difficult, the CNN report goes on to say. On one hand, the State of Missouri is taking measures to allow hidden cameras within nursing homes to catch offenders. However, other legislation is aimed at making it much harder to take legal and punitive action against nursing homes that have a problematic past.
A Senate bill introduced by a Republican from Iowa is aimed at limiting the legal liability of nursing homes as well as doctors and facilities in the medical industry. The Senator claims it’s aimed at cutting health care costs that are seriously affected by huge lawsuit amounts and are driving overall health expenses beyond a practical threshold. Advocates for nursing home abuse victims are strongly opposed to this legislation. They point out that without the threat of litigation, nursing home companies are free to operate without proper accountability.
CNN’s investigative report also gives viewers clear direction on how to check a specific nursing home’s history in the federal Nursing Home Compare website. Here you can find detailed information on whether a nursing home has been reported for sexual or other abuse violations. Read more on CNN’s report.