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Study: Abuse in nursing homes often at hands of fellow resident


Posted on behalf of Mark F. Griffin of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jan 14, 2015 in Nursing Home Abuse

While many people throughout the nation rely upon nursing home facilities to care for loved ones, unfortunately residents are not always care for in the manner expected. Readers may be aware of cases where residents are abused by facility employees. This is not the only situation in which abuse occurs however. Sometimes the abuse is at the hands of another resident. A recent study sheds light on how serious the issue is.

The study, conducted by Cornell University, determined that 20 percent of residents who live in nursing homes are involved in a minimum of one encounter with another resident—described as aggressive—each month. Not all of these incidents are physical in nature. The violence can also be psychological, verbal or in the form of sexual abuse. Though the damage from it may not be visible it nonetheless can inflict great pain upon a victim.

There are likely multiple factors that contribute to the problem including:

  • Mental illness.
  • Behavioral problems.
  • Crowded conditions.
  • Employee understaffing.

Because of the role resident mental illness and behavior problems plays in the matter, the repercussions are not the same as what they would be for other individuals.

The team that conducted the study has recommendations as to how to handle the incidents when they occur. The first is to train staff to recognize it when it occurs. They should also be trained to report it. When incidents do occur, guidelines and suggestions regarding how to handles the situation should be in place so that employees have an idea of how to respond.

When a resident is seriously injured in an incident involving another resident legal action may be appropriate. To learn more please see our web page on nursing home abuse.

Source: Columbus Dispatch,"US study — violence common among nursing home residents," Encarnacion Pyle, Jan. 8, 2014