Maryland nursing home residents, like all nursing home residents, deserve to live in a safe place. Although elder rights groups report that there is insufficient research on resident-on-resident abuse in nursing homes, they have found it is prevalent and warrants societal concern. Indeed, a recent study by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care found that around 20 percent of residents experienced resident-on-resident abuse. The study also found that the residents most likely to be involved in resident-on-resident abuse are often cognitively and physically impaired, and in many cases, they also have dementia.
In addition, elder abuse often goes unreported. According to the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services, over a quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police. This is true even though state and federal laws require that nursing home management report serious cases of abuse to the police.
Some believe that the rise in resident-on-resident abuse is due to an increase in nursing home residents suffering from dementia and the lack of staff equipped to handle those challenges. The Consumer Voice’s study found that resident-on-resident abuse often occurs as a single instance and then escalates because staff are not present to stop it.