Resident-to-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes

The National Institute on Aging recently funded a study to help determine the prevalence of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment (R-REM) in nursing homes. The study involved a one-month observational study of 2,011 residents in ten randomly selected nursing homes in the state of New York. About 83 – 84% of the residents of these homes participated in the study.

During the month-long study, 407 of the 2,011 residents experienced at least one R-REM incident. The largest percentage of the R-REM incidents verbal, followed by “other incidents,” such as invasion of privacy or menacing gestures, physical incidents, and sexual incidents. The study indicated that the rates of estimated R-REM appeared to be higher if the residents had more severe levels of cognitive impairment, lived on a dementia unit, or were on a unit with higher aide-to-patient ratios.

The researchers in this study concluded that R-REM is highly prevalent. While the majority of R-REM incidents were verbal in nature, physical R-REM incidents also occurred frequently. There were some limitations to the study, such as the fact that the nursing homes observed in the study were all relatively large in size. This factor may have contributed to a failure to detect all R-REM incidents that actually occurred. Nonetheless, it is clear that R-REM is a problem that needs a solution.

Resident-to-resident abuse is a serious issue that nursing homes must recognize and take steps to prevent. While it may be unclear how prevalent this type of behavior is, it is clear that it continues to occur, and can cause serious physical and emotional harm to some of the most vulnerable individuals in society. By working to eliminate some of the factors that directly contribute to this type of harm for nursing home patients, we hope to see these incidents decrease. At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of all those residents and their families who have suffered substantial injuries while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.