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Nursing Home Resident-on-Resident Abuse

Researchers recently published the results of a study suggesting that as many as one in five nursing home residents experience verbal or physical abuse from their roommates or other residents. The study took data from 2,011 nursing home residents over a four-week period, which showed that 407 of those residents had been involved in at least one abusive incident involving another resident during that time period. The largest percentage of these incidents involved verbal taunts (45%), which typically were inappropriate language or screaming, as opposed to physical assaults (26%), such as hitting and pushing. Another 20% of the incidents involved invasion of privacy, which usually consisted of one resident entering another resident’s room and taking or touching his or her property without permission. About four percent of the residents experienced menacing faces or gestures from another resident, while just less than three percent endured some type of sexual abuse.

The residents who participated in the study were from five urban and five suburban nursing homes in the state of New York. The researchers derived their data from interviews with residents, staff members, and, in some cases, family members or legal guardians of the residents, as well as medical charts and incident reports. The study involved more women (73%) than men, and the average age of the residents surveyed was 84. About 16% of the residents studied lived on a unit specifically for dementia patients.

The authors of the study concluded that much of the interpersonal aggression in nursing homes may be due to individuals who have neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. However, they also pointed out that in nursing homes, many of the residents find themselves suddenly living in a communal shared living environment for the first time in many years, or perhaps for the first time at all. A change from living alone or with a trusted family member to living with a variety of strangers can result in aggressive or unhappy reactions from residents. Furthermore, the researchers did not rule out the possibility that resident-on-resident abuse was more prevalent than the data revealed in this study, simply because they were forced in many cases to extract data from persons other than the residents themselves, such as staff or family members.

Abusive actions toward nursing home residents sometimes can result in significant injuries. What’s worse is that many of these abuse incidents are wholly preventable. The Wisconsin long-term care abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know how to protect your loved ones’ rights. Our law firm handles these types of personal injury cases on a regular basis and is experienced in advocating on behalf of clients just like you. We are here to help you fight back against the healthcare facility that caused harm to your loved one, and to get any compensation to which you are entitled.