When someone mentions nursing home abuse, chances are, you think of injuries inflicted on patients by the staff that is supposed to be caring for residents. But the staff aren’t always the ones perpetrating abuse. Sometimes abuse comes at the hands of other residents, and it’s no wonder it happens. Residents are, at times, confused as to where they are and who those around them might be, or sometimes taking medications with side effects that can include exacerbating anger issues.
In fact, such mistreatment among fellow nursing home residents is so prevalent that it triggered a study by Cornell University in 2014. The report determined that, in the population studied by the university, about one in five residents suffered resident-on-resident mistreatment during a four-week period. Verbal incidents like screaming or cursing were most common, followed by events such as a resident entering another’s room to go through his or her possessions. Physical altercations, such as hitting or biting, and incidents of sexual misconduct, such as exposure or touching, were also noted in the survey.
A Scottsville, Kentucky personal care home even had a murder . According to reports, the victim of the murder was a 71-year-old man who was strangled with a lamp cord in his room at the Scottsville facility. Reports also suggest that the man’s 35-year-old roommate may have been responsible for the crime.
An Isolated Event?
While most resident-on-resident attacks do not result in death, such attacks are, unfortunately, relatively common in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and assisted living centers. Abuse by fellow residents can take the form of physical attacks such as the homicide in Scottsville, but verbal, sexual, and even financial abuse are also frequent.
We have talked to several families whose loved ones were living at a nursing home and were victims of attacks. In some cases, the nursing homes should have know there could be an issue between two residents, as the resident had a history of violent interactions. It is the duty of the nursing home to protect its residents.
What Can Be Done?
The Cornell study indicates that the residents who are most likely to be involved in a resident-on-resident act of mistreatment are younger, more physically able, and more prone to disruptive behavior than other residents. Typically, perpetrators are “somewhat cognitively disabled” but physically able to move freely around the nursing home on their own. Often, an underlying mood disorder or dementia manifests itself as verbal or physically aggressive actions.
The study suggests that nursing homes should educate and train their staff members to recognize resident-on-resident abuse and focus on intervention in susceptible residents. Otherwise, victims can suffer physical injuries, stress, and a decreased quality of life.
If You Have Questions About a Nursing Home Matter
Those confined to nursing homes are vulnerable and dependent on others for their needs, including the need to be protected from harm perpetuated by fellow residents. If you need to talk to an experienced Kentucky nursing home injury and wrongful death attorney about something that has happened to your loved one, contact English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley at (270) 781-6500 for a free consultation.. Our offices are located in Bowling Green. We accept cases throughout Kentucky, including Franklin, Scottsville, Russellville, Brownsville, and Elkton.
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