Residents in Nursing Homes Responsible for 20% of Abuse
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Sep 12, 2016
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States. And most nursing home abuse is in the form of a nursing home professional – such as a nurse – neglecting or abusing a patient. New statistics, however, show that approximately one in every five nursing home residents is abused not by a nursing home staff member, but by another resident within the nursing home.
Nursing Home Abuse – Residents Target Others
According to the report, summarized by an article in Philly.com, the most common form of resident-on-resident abuse was verbal taunts – like screaming at residents and using curse words – which accounted for about 45 percent of the cases. Shockingly, physical assaults by other residents accounted for 26 percent of cases. Approximately 20 percent of incidents involved invasion of privacy. Less than three percent of reported cases involved sexual abuse. The authors of the study concluded that it is very possible that reported rates of abuse by nursing home residents may be higher than recorded, as the researchers relied on staff reports as well as reports from other residents and residents’ family members, sources that may not be 100 percent accurate.
Why Residents Engage in Nursing Home Abuse
According to the article, nursing home abuse that is committed by residents against other residents likely results from the fact that many nursing home patients are suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, and these patients are being placed in a nursing home setting – which can be intimidating and upsetting – for the first time in their lives. In addition to the key characteristics of dementia that most are familiar with, such as memory loss, neurodegenerative diseases are also a factor for behavior problems. If nursing home patients have to share rooms or space, these behavioral problems may present themselves.
Who Is Liable for Nursing Home Resident Harm?
If a nursing home patient abuses another nursing home patient, who is liable – the resident or the nursing home? The Philly.com article suggests that in many cases, nursing home staff may not be adequately trained to work with dementia patients and other residents with cognitive or psychiatric issues. Without the proper training, staff may not know how to appropriately mitigate or prevent abusive behaviors, and may turn to inappropriate methods, such as physical restraint or the use of chemical sedation (which may in itself be considered abusive). A nursing home has a duty to protect and care for its patients; if this duty is neglected and another patient is harmed – even if at the hands of another resident, not a staff member – the nursing home may be held liable.
Contact a Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your elderly loved one has been a victim of abuse in a Philadelphia nursing home, and you have questions about what to do next and liability, our experienced Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys have answers. To schedule a free case consultation, call our offices today.