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Family Sues Nursing Home in Alleged Sex Attack

Family Sues Nursing Home in Alleged Sex Attack

Carla K. Johnson

May 15, 2009

The family of a 69-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against a suburban nursing home for failing to protect her from being sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old mentally ill resident.

Maplewood Care’s administrator tried to cover up a rape by calling it consensual sex, said attorney Pete Flowers, who represents the woman’s family and called the case against the Elgin facility the most flagrant example of nursing home negligence he has seen.

It also is an example of how mixing frail senior citizens and younger mentally ill residents in nursing homes can lead to violence if facilities do not monitor potentially dangerous residents, Flowers said.

“The only possible reason that you would be in this situation is a profit motive,” he said. “You want more residents in your facility, but you’re unwilling to pay for the necessary elements to protect all the residents.”

Ron Nunziato, an executive with Lincolnwood-based S.I.R. Management, which operates the nursing home and seven other Chicago-area facilities, said he had no comment on the lawsuit or the alleged rape in January.

Christopher Shelton was missing at bed check, but “no search was made or alarm sounded to alert residents and staff that a young, aggressive, sexually frustrated, convicted felon was prowling the halls of the nursing home,” the lawsuit alleges.

Later, a night shift nurse heard an elderly woman moaning and entered her room, a state investigation found. The nurse found the alleged victim crying and Shelton in her bathroom, where he was calling 911 to report that someone was attacking the woman.

Paramedics and an emergency room doctor later examined the woman and noted signs of sexual trauma, according to the state investigator’s report.

Shelton had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with aggression when he was admitted to the nursing home in November. The state report showed he had told the nursing home staff in December that he was sexually frustrated, but the facility failed to monitor him more closely.


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    raymoss1

    about 5 years ago

    220 comments

    The man should have not been admitted to the facility in the first place. I worked in a nursing home that was owned buy a chain. They would often admit residents that just got out of prison for violent crimes. Put them on the same floor with the frail elderly. Would put a confused combative resident in with a frail dying resident. They would admit anyone. Did mot matter if the residents and staff where unsafe. As long as the brought in the might dollar. The staffing was so poor one nurse to 60 residents on 3-11 shift. And 3 nursing assistants. One would become so overwhelmed with the work load. No one nurse can do all the work that is pushed at them. These facilities put the nurses license on the line and just do not give a dam. As long as administration can pass the buck, get huge bonuses for keeping staffing low. Nursing homes will continue to have a bad rep. It is a sad situation that this country is in. Sadly, things will never change because the adminstation will continue the unsafe practice. Because they get the big bonus and do not have to put up with the abuse. And they can pass the buck and blame the floor nurse to cover their behinds and jobs.

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    nurse_sunshine

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    This type of situaiton is what gives nursing homes a bad name. The nurses and nurse assistants are usually working very understaffed. Who knows, this particular nurse may have had several other units to cover that night (it is very common for a night shift nurse to be covering 2-3 floors - sometimes over a 100 residents) and may not have been informed the male resident was missing for quite a while, as she could have been taking care of serious ill resident somewhere else in the building @ the time. The whole system is set up so poorly & it is only getting worse with all the cutbacks employers are making. What used to be acute care hospital patients are now nursing home residents. What used to be nursing home residents are now in assisting living areas. What used to be assisted living residents are now independent living residents. BUT GUESS WHAT - with these changes and much higher accuity, the nursing homes are staffed WORSE than they were back in the 1980's! We are constantly expected to do more with less. Once they see we managing on less, they slice again. I'm a nurse in a nursing home (have worked in 4 different ones over the last 30 years) & I have seen in the last 7 years the STNAs (nursing assistants) assignments go from 10 or less residents to care for to sometimes 20 or 30 on their shift. How can we be expected to give quality care with these type numbers? The nurses are so overwhelmed with trying to pass medications, review labs, notify Dr. & families with any changes, doing the treatments and documentation, they no way have the time to supervise what the STNAs are (or are not) doing. Every day we hear the cries of the residents and families that it takes too long to have their call lights answered, that they weren't helped to the BR soon enough & were incontinent, etc. To this I say (to myself) "Yes, of course you wait too long. We know, administration knows, everyone knows that it takes longer than it should because staff members may be with another resident (feeding them, transferring them in/out of bed, taking them to BR or changing them OR - GOD FORBID - looking for a missing resident!)" I'm not making excuses for what happened that night - maybe staff members did turn their heads the other way OR maybe there were so few staff members on duty they were with someone else when they needed to be where the action was instead. We'll only know the truth when they pull the staffing records to see for sure (and hope the the staffing numbers weren't tampered with and padded to show more staff members than was actually on duty - I've seen this before). You can bet your the staff will take the fall for this, though it seriously may not have been their fault. People say, "Well, then why stay there? Go somewhere else." Guess what, that is often jumping out to the frying pan into the fire. Many, many, many nursing homes are understaffed & who can afford to be out of work right now? It is sad that administration knows, but makes the decision, to have unsafe numbers of staff members covering the floors. Not only do the residents suffer from this (AND they certainly do), but so do the staff members. It appears to family members that staff is lazy & doesn't care, which couldn't be further from the truth, but all they see is that their loved one isn't getting the care they deserve - and is having to wait way TOO long, as was the case with this female resident.

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    smschafle

    about 5 years ago

    50 comments

    Having worked in a long term facility, younger males who are homeless, drug addicted and/or mentally ill are mixed in with the elderly. There should be a facility for them since it is difficult for the nurses to care for them as it is for them to be in a home that is geared toward the elderly's slower pace and quiet atmosphere. These men need more then nursing homes can provide. It is my hope that eventually this need will be met.

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    donz

    about 5 years ago

    24 comments

    I don't know if my comment was noted so...I will put it in again....although I liked my wording before...At this time in our US history government can not handle everything...look at 3rd world countries...money sent for aid and help never seems to even put a dent into making a difference...so common sense tells us that it is US...all the pills given, all the IV's set, and all the doctors orders ...only for this poor woman to end up in a nursing care home to be set up for rape!
    It is disgusting and all nurses should feel this way and be disturbed by this! BUT the main question lies in how many nurses stood up and SAID ANYTHING--HOW MANY NURSES LOOKED THE OTHER WAY AND WENT HOME JUST TO COME BACK TO THE SAME! SHAME ON THEM AND ANY NURSES WHO CONTINUE TO THINK THAT THEIR CARE IS DONE!

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    sonia44

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    i very disturb to hear something like this has happened to this lady. these people put their family member into these facility to get the help that they need not to be sexually assualted. how can you say that it was ok from both sides to have sex. i am very disturb about this very much. the administrator should be put into jail right along with this yound man. the nurse that was on duty should be disciplined also. how can you put these two people together. nursing homes now of these days are just about money and not the residents. i believe that they should sue for more than what they are suing for. once the nurse could not locate this young man her job and responsibility was to go and look for him. by her knowing what is situation is. family members do not put their love ones in these places to have these things done to them. i would of close down this facility and have a world wide search on all the other facilities that this sick man owns. suppose it was one of his family member like his mother or grandmother or daughter how would he had feel about that. he and all the staff members should be ashame of their selves. i am very hurt and disturb cause i am thinking suppose if this can happen to this sweet lady how many more out there that this is happening to and they can't say what his happen or express to anyone what is going on with them. people you'll need to check yourself what goes around comes right back around but worse. suppose this young man had killed this lady think about it people.

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    nurseamy_1979

    about 5 years ago

    1762 comments

    I used to work in a facility that was for mentally ill patients that had been in an institution all of thier lives. A large company bought the facility and tried to have a rehab unit as well as a skilled care unit. The mentally ill patients that were not in need of skilled care were moved to another hall, but all that needed skilled care as well as the new incoming residents were all on one hall. The family members of the new residents didn't understand the outbursts and yelling of many of the mentally ill residents. I am very thankful that nothing this horribile happened while I was employed.

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    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    I see SiR Management continue to cover up in house resident abuse, speaking from experience as a fromer DON of one thier facility. my heart goes out to the resident and Family and the bipolar young man, for it is obvious speaking as a master prepared nurse of psychiatric ,you can not mix these two patient population. The bipolar young man can best benfit from a structure mental facility oppose to a nursing home setting. I strongly feel that some state law needs to be implemented in regaurds of the mentally ill patient placement within a nursing home ( they should be placed on a locked unit away from the elderly residents). NO MONEY CAN COMPENSATE FOR THE PAIN AND NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE ELDERLY RESIDENT. THE STATE NEEEDS TO CLOSE THIS FACILITY DOWN, AND INVESTIGATE ALL SIR MANGEMENT FACITILIES TO ENSURE SAFETY OF ALL ELDERLY RESIDENTS.

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    addnurse

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    It seems like everything comes down to money;why are they mixing these two patient populations?Where are they supposed to place mentally ill people these days,just leave them on the streets?We've got to come up with better solutions.......

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    ivypooh

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Are you serious!!!!! Consensual sex between a 69 year old woman and a 21 year old mental patient? I agree that more security measures should have been in place, as well as a thorough search once the patient was noted to be missing.

    Some facilities deal with quantity over quality. I can only imagine the horrific trauma that has been placed on this poor woman and her family; my prayers go out to her. As for the young man and the facility, I feel it should be handled to the maximum!!

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    weeda210

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    The whole entire staff should be held responsible, due to them not doing a thorough check when he was not in his room. I hope they get every dime of the law suit money, and close down the facility. Would it have been different if it was one of there staff members, that was attacked?

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    Emmatol

    about 5 years ago

    186 comments

    I really wanna say I'm disappointed in the security measure provided by this nursing home for our senior citizens and I do not think it portrays our profession well.
    My verdict will still be that frequent screening of facilities be carried out before accreditation so as to control the escalation of anomalies like this.

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    tracyhoover

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I think that there is more cases then reported and lots of stuff over looked. Do to the high number of younger and mentaly challanged people place into nuring homes sence the number of instututes and group homes are closing

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    Rhonda70710

    about 5 years ago

    6 comments

    I hope they win a ridiculous amount of money...that's the only way changes are made is to hit the nursing home's pockets.
    I've been working in them for years.

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    Beth_Lopez1967

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    That nursing home should be closed down so that other nursing homes will be very vigilant. huh!

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    blackmon44

    about 5 years ago

    54 comments

    This young man should not have even been in the same facility as this elderly woman ,definitely , there are facilities that house these types of mentally challenged patients. You can't blame her for suing, I hope she get's every dime.

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