Monday, February 8, 2016

Sexual Behavior In Nursing Facilities

Sexual behavior in a nursing facility. What? Many times we forget that dementia patients still have all the urges that everyone else has. Which includes but is not limited to sexual urges.

So, what is the answer here? Do you as a Director of a facility allow this, and if so, how far does "this" go?

Some will say it's fine for these patients to have feelings for other patients. They have forgotten they are married, and it is very natural to have these feelings.

This could start with something as simple as holding hands. Or it could escalate right off the bat to a full blown rape.

I myself don't agree with allowing patients to cohabitant with other patients. Even if it just holding hands. This can easily escalate. And then what?

Many will say it doesn't hurt a thing and they are both consenting adults. I say hooey. First of all think of what you are dealing with here. The mere fact they are in a dementia ward tells you that they have long lost the ability to make rational decisions.

Allowing such behavior opens up all kinds of liability on the facilities if you ask me. Everyone wants their loved ones to have friends, companions, whatever you want to call it.

What this is about goes or has the potential to go way beyond friends. What we have to keep in mind is these people have lost the ability to make rational decisions.

And yes, the urges are still there. But you can't act on these urges just because you want to, or it's no excuse in the eyes of the law that this occurred because the patient has dementia.

If something as casual as holding hands is allowed and somehow this takes a turn to other things, then the facility is liable for allowing this to begin with.

Now, if the two patients are married to each other, then thats a different story. The issue here is and always is consent. Dementia patients in the stage that these people are in do not have the ability to give consent of this nature.

This is something that is rarely discussed, that is why I bring it up. I was an investigator for the State of Ohio for a six county area which included many nursing facilities.

I know a little about this topic. I had many cases of sexual abuse that occurred in nursing facilities. Anything from some casual contact, to full blown rape.

It happens. I am not posting this for you to get all worried about something that may never happen. The issue here is these situations do happen. I was astounded with the number of sexual attacks I had to investigate.

This is one of those topics that is never really brought up. And should be.
The urges like I said are there. Not in all patients, but all it takes is one. This is what I mean when I tell you that you will always be their caregiver, no matter if they are placed or not.

©  Rick Phelps  2016