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Home > Blog > Nursing Home Abuse > What to Know about Nursing Home Residents Being Abused by Other Residents
by: NPHM | November 21, 2022

What to Know about Nursing Home Residents Being Abused by Other Residents

When most people hear the phrase “nursing home abuse,” they picture residents being harmed by staff members, nurses, orderlies, and other caregivers. However, a 2014 Cornell University study found that around one in five nursing home residents had been abused by other residents at least once during the previous four weeks.

Many families are unaware that their loved ones are even at risk of being abused by other residents. If your loved one is living in a nursing or assisted living facility, it’s important to be aware of this possibility and to be ready to take action if it happens. To keep your loved one safe and to protect their rights, here’s what you need to know about this all-too-common scenario.

It’s Often Caused by Negligent Staff

Even when abuse is not perpetrated by malicious or careless caregivers themselves, nursing home staff members should still be trained to quickly spot signs of abuse or neglect in residents. In some cases, staff members may notice signs of abuse but fail to report it or intervene. When staff members are negligent or neglectful, resident-on-resident abuse may go unnoticed, untreated, and unreported for weeks, months, or years.

Cognitive Decline and Impairment Are Factors in Many Cases

Many nursing home residents suffer from cognitive decline due to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A common symptom of these conditions is anger, aggression, and even violence. Residents with cognitive decline are more likely to physically attack other residents, and they may do it with no history of aggression as their diseases progress and worsen over time.

Mobile and Independent Residents Are More Likely to Abuse Others

Residents who are in relatively good health and able to move around their facilities with little or no assistance are the most likely to physically abuse other residents. Their victims are often residents who are in poor health or who are less mobile and independent than they are.

Abuse Doesn’t Always Involve Room-Sharing Scenarios

When residents who share their rooms are abused by other residents, many people suspect their roommates are the abusers. While this can be the case in some resident-on-resident abuse scenarios, many of instances of abuse are the result of abusers entering their victims’ rooms uninvited. Upon entry, they may not only physically abuse their victims, but they also may steal or damage their belongings.

Victims Often Become Depressed, Anxious, or Fearful

Some victims of resident abuse develop many psychological problems after repeated or even a single incident of abuse. It’s common for victims of all types of elder abuse, including resident-on-resident abuse, to become depressed and anxious. They may withdraw from activities they once enjoyed, especially if their abuser is present, while others may even be afraid to leave their rooms due to fear of encountering their abusers.

Abusers May Intimidate Victims into Silence

One of the most common reasons that resident abuse goes unreported is because abusers threaten further violence if their victims report their actions. This can be particularly devastating for victims in negligent nursing homes where staff members may fail to follow up on reports of violence or abuse. The combination of threats and lack of concern from caregivers can cause victims to stay silent about their mistreatment.

Nursing Home Owners and Administrators Can Be Held Liable

When residents are abused by others, whether it’s staff members or other residents doing the harm, the people who own and operate the nursing homes can and should be held liable. Nursing homes are supposed to uphold residents’ rights, and that includes keeping them safe from other residents and taking the right actions to prevent additional instances of abuse from occurring.

We Help Residents and Their Families with Resident-on-Resident Abuse Claims

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we believe that all types of nursing home resident abuse are unacceptable. When it happens, our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers strive to help victims and their families get maximum compensation for the egregious breach of trust, safety, and security they’ve experienced.

If you suspect your loved one is being physically abused by another resident or a staff member, we’re here for you. We have decades of experience building successful nursing home abuse claims, and we know what it takes to win. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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