Featured News 2016 Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes

Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes

When families place their loved one in a nursing home, they worry about the living quarters, the quality of food, and the activities available on the premises. In some facilities, they may worry about the friendliness of staff, but rarely do they think about the other residents.

Just as parents are worried about bullying in schools, families need to be aware of resident-on-resident abuse, which is common and widespread, and nothing new. According to research from Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University, hostile behavior between nursing home residents is a "sizeable and growing problem."

The study found that:

  • In the previous four weeks, nearly one in five nursing home residence were involved in at least one aggressive encounter with a fellow resident.
  • The negative encounters included verbal or physical abuse, inappropriate sexual behavior, and invasions in privacy.

This was the first study that directly observed and interviewed nursing home residents about resident-on-resident abuse. The study discovered that the altercations between residents are common and widespread in nursing homes and occur on a daily basis. While the matter is urgent, it's vastly underreported.

The study found that nearly 20 percent of residents were mistreated by other residents over a four-week period. The most common types of mistreatment among residents included: cursing, biting, kicking, hitting, and a variety of different sexual incidents. Another category involved going through another resident's belongings, or unwelcomed entry into another resident's room.

Cognitive Impairment and Abuse

It is not surprising that many of the individuals who engage in resident-on-resident abuse are cognitively impaired due to dementia and other mood disorders. Often, these individuals are mobile and capable of moving around the nursing home, but their dementia or mood disorder can cause verbally or physically aggressive behaviors, which are taken out on fellow residents.

Many experts see why these individuals become loud, or physically aggressive when they are in such close quarters with others. Still, many nursing homes are not doing a sufficient job preventing, and putting an end to resident-on-resident abuse.

If your loved one is a victim of resident-on-resident abuse, we urge you to contact a nursing home abuse attorney for help!

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