Lack of Skilled Staff at Memory Care – Sexual Assault is the Unintended Result
Memory care facilities deal with people with cognitive deficiencies with a wide range of abilities and risks for each resident. Some residents are very mobile and active and other need assistance with transfer and other activities of daily living.
Despite the fact that many memory care providers charge more for a room and care than a nursing home there is a trade off you are getting a nicer room and usually newer more luxurious dining room and other areas but there very little training required to be a staff member in the facility.
According to Minnesota Statute 144D.065 (a)(2), direct-care employees must have completed at least eight hours of initial training on topics specified under paragraph (b) within 160 working hours of the employment start date. The specialized training under paragraph (b) includes:
(b) Areas of required training include:
(1) an explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders;
(2) assistance with activities of daily living;
(3) problem solving with challenging behaviors; and
(4) communication skills.
As you can see the training for specialized memory care staff is very limited and does not include any medical training what-so-ever. The lack of training with many resident which have limited mobility and other medical and physical issues leads to many forms of preventable situations including sexual assault to vulnerable residents.
Memory Care Sexual Assault by Other Residents
Due to resident rights, a resident in a memory care facility have a legal right to have a relationship even a physical one with other residents if there is consent. Consent is the issue, at what point does one or both of the parties lose their legal right to consent to sex. If there is event without consent there may be civil liabilities for the facility and provider as well as potential criminal actions ranging from restraining orders to criminal charges.
Memory Care Sexual Assault by Staff Members
There are also of course situations where staff members take advantage of the fact that resident’s may be confusion or have other cognitive issues that make them very vulnerable to sexual assault. Staff members should have background checks to limit the ability of persons with a known history to have contact with the residents. However, the backgrounds are not always performed in a timely manner, or there are new criminal issues that show up once the staff member is hired, or the report is missing key information from other states or countries. Then there are the staff that had never been caught abusing before but lacked the supervision of the staff and their actions which fostered an environment for those with a propensity to attempt sexual abuse.
Residents need to be properly assessed, and then the staff needs to be well trained then supervised by protective management to assure the safety of all the residents. Minnesota is a one person consent video state which means that you can place a hidden camera in the room of a resident. The room is a private space just like an apartment in any other building and the resident can have a hidden camera if the resident and/or their legal representative consents to the recording.
Memory Care Sexual Assault Reporting
Pursuant to Minn. Statute 144.7065, Subd. 7, potential criminal events, events reportable under this subdivision are:
(1) any instance of care ordered by or provided by someone impersonating a physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other licensed health care provider;
(2) abduction of a patient of any age;
(3) sexual assault on a patient within or on the grounds of a facility; and
(4) death or serious injury of a patient or staff member resulting from a physical assault that occurs within or on the grounds of a facility.
In addition to the reporting requirements for the facility you should also report any sexual abuse to the local police department and the Minnesota Department of Health Office of Health Facility Complaint, OHFC. See the attached for more information about reporting elder abuse and neglect.
If you have questions about sexual abuse in a memory care facility or other elder provider or nursing home or other elder abuse and neglect issues contact Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation. There is no fee unless there is a verdict or settlement offer from the wrongdoer. Mr. LaBore can be reached directly at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.