Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes

Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Nursing HomesOften when people think of nursing home abuse, they tend to conjure up images of negligent or cruel employees and staff mistreating their elderly loved ones. However, a notable percentage of assaults and mistreatment occur from resident-on-resident abuse. Often this abuse goes unreported or even unaddressed by staff or the residents themselves.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) published a research brief regarding what they call Resident-to-Resident Aggression in Long-Term Care Settings. The NCEA defines resident-to-resident aggression as “negative and aggressive physical, sexual, or verbal interactions between long-term care (assisted living facilities, nursing homes, etc.) residents that (as in a community setting) would likely be construed as unwelcomed and have high potential to cause physical or psychological distress in the recipient.”

This type of nursing home abuse is much more common than people may realize. The NCEA’s brief reveals some startling statistics (from 249 nurse aides reporting from nursing homes in 10 states):

  • 67% of nurse aides observed high levels of residents yelling at each other
  • 94% of nurse aides observed residents pushing, grabbing, or pinching each other in the prior three months
  • 91% of nurse aides observed aggressive behavior between residents in the prior three months
  • 39% of nursing homes had nurse aides that had observed residents exposing body parts to other residents
  • 77% of nurse aides observed residents exposing their body parts to other residents
  • 69% of nurse aides intervened with one resident taking another resident’s possessions

What are the risk factors for nursing home resident-on-resident abuse?

Researchers believe this type of abuse stems from a variety of factors, including:

  • Cognitive impairment of both perpetrator and victim
  • Commingling of individuals with and without psychiatric illness or associated psychiatric behaviors
  • Crowded nursing home environments
  • High number of residents suffering from dementia

Resident-on-resident abuse can cause physical and emotional trauma to the victim, who may display symptoms including depression, anxiety, unexplained injuries, and decreased quality of life.

Nursing home liability for resident-on-resident abuse

If your loved one has suffered abuse or assault from another resident at a long-term care facility, you may be eligible to file a claim on his or her behalf for compensation. Normally, one would file a claim against the abusive resident. However, most South Carolina nursing home residents lack the financial ability to compensate individuals for any abuse they may commit. Additionally, there may be mental or behavioral issues at play that minimizes or eliminates the resident’s liability in the eyes of the court.

This does not excuse the nursing home and its staff from liability. A nursing home can be held liable for the actions of its staff if it is found negligent in its hiring and staffing procedures. The facility is responsible for the safety of your loved one and all its residents, and if it fails in that duty, it must be held accountable when an individual suffers harm.

The South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC are proud to fight for the rights of our senior citizens. We hold long-term care facilities responsible when they fail to protect their residents. To schedule a free consultation, call 803-327-7800, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.