Nursing Home Injuries Aren’t Always the Staff

When one thinks of nursing home abuse, they usually think of the abuse as being perpetrated by a staff member.  This is not always the case.  A new study indicates that as much as 20% of nursing home abuse is perpetrated by another resident.

Senior author Karl Pillemer was surprised by the results of the study.  “We thought it would be common, but we did not anticipate that 1 in 5 people would be involved in a resident-to-resident incident.”

Cornell researchers and their colleagues at the Research Division of Hebrew Home at Riverdale undertook evaluating 2,011 residents in 10 facilities over a one month period.  Of those, 407 residents, equal to about 20.2 percent, had experienced at least one incident of mistreatment by another resident.

Of these instances, nine percent were categorized as verbal abuse.  Five percent experienced physical abuse.  Another five percent experienced other kinds of abuse including invasion of privacy and menacing gestures.  Less than one percent experienced sexual abuse.  

When it came to verbal abuse, the most common type committed was screaming and using foul language.  Hitting and pushing were common types of physical aggression.  Common examples of invasion of privacy included going into another resident’s room without permission and taking or handling another patient’s belongings.

Cognitive impairment was one of the main risk factors for aggression.  Crowding in common spaces also increased the risk, and it was noted that acts of aggression increased during the winter months.  

One of the ways that facilities could address these instances is to improve staff awareness and establish clear protocols for dealing with instances when they occur.  Some residents are at greater risk of becoming aggressors and may require more supervision.  

If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the law offices of Schenk Smith today.  Our attorneys may be able to help you.  Contact us today.