Frank Hicks, a 49 year-old caretaker at the facility was arrested in April of this year after a witness saw his standing over a patient in what appeared to be a sexual act. According to the police report, which was reported by Kentucky.com, the witness saw the woman with her knees up and Hicks had his pelvis pressed against the woman’s body. His belt was unbuckled and he appeared to be aroused. The 87-year old dementia patient told police Hicks raped her.
Hicks had denied the allegations and he will have to appear before a jury in the future.
Hicks’s arrest followed another incident of alleged sexual abuse at Cambridge place. According to Kentucky.com, another patient, also suffering from dementia told administrators that she had been sexually assaulted.
In the January incident, which was reported to authorities, the patient, whose gender has not been identified, said that a male nurse’s aide climbed on top of them while they were in bed and straddled them.
“He thinks he’s sexy and tried to get in bed with me, but I kicked him away,” the resident said in federal documents.
The resident who staff said was delusional later recanted their earlier statement and no charges were filed. However, there was a federal investigation that resulted in fine and deficiencies.
Following the April incident, which resulted in Hicks’s indictment, Cambridge Place was hit with an “immediate jeopardy” deficiency, stating that the facility failed to ensure residents were free from abuse. The federal report said the nurse’s aide in question was allowed to remain on the staff.
Sexual abuse of the elderly is not as rampant as neglect or other forms of abuse—less than 1 percent of abuse complaints involve sexual assault, rape or molestation—it is still an issue that the nursing home staff and the elderly person’s family must take seriously.
The fact that the first complaint was not taken seriously is indicative of the challenges dementia patients face when they are abused or neglected. Because dementia patients appear to be confused, unaware of their surrounding and locked into their own world, so people often dismiss their complaints and allegations.
Before a dementia patient’s allegations are dismissed or ignored, their caretakers should look for the signs of abuse.
It is possible that some complaints by dementia patients are false, but their allegations must be taken seriously. While Cambridge Place took corrective actions after they were cited by state and federal agencies, other nursing homes don’t take the necessary measures protect their residents.
When a nursing home or other long term care facility fails to ensure the safety of a resident, there are legal courses of action the senior’s family can take. After they have contacted the proper authorities they should reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney to determine if they should file a civil suit.