A Nursing Home’s Responsibility to Prevent Resident-On-Resident Abuse

It used to be that when the term “nursing home abuse” was mentioned, the mostly likely culprit engaging in the abuse was a staff member of the nursing home. However, according to a recent news report, that may be changing. Evidently, the Annals of Internal Medicine recently commissioned a study of 10 New York nursing homes to see the rates at which residents are engaging in abusive behaviors among themselves. The results were shocking.

According to the study, about 20% of all nursing home residents reported that they suffered some kind of abuse caused by another resident. Most of the abuse was verbal, consisting of threats, swearing, or belittling, but there was a significant amount of physical and sexual abuse that was found. In fact, according to the report, 5% of nursing home residents reported suffering physical abuse, and 0.6% reported being sexually abused by another resident.

The study notes that the lesser forms of abuse are precursors to the more serious types of abuse, and it is imperative that nursing home staff intervene before the pattern of abuse between two given patients escalates. The study also found that residents suffering from dementia or those who were placed in a facility with a high patient-to-staff ratio were more likely to be victimized by another resident.

Of course, there were limitations with the study, namely that the study only recorded reported instances of abuse. It is possible that the actual numbers were significantly higher, but the residents suffering from the abuse failed to come forward and report it.

A Nursing Home’s Duty

Nursing homes have an affirmative duty to protect the residents who live in the facility from all types of abuse. This includes not only abuse at the hands of nursing home employees but also abuse by fellow residents. As the study noted, homes with fewer staff members and more patients are those where abuse between residents is more likely to occur. It is therefore the duty of nursing home management to ensure that there is an adequate number of staff members present to attend to all the residents and ensure their well-being. While nurses cannot always prevent residents from falling ill, they can make sure that residents are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Has Your Loved One Suffered at the Hands of an Abusive Resident or Staff Member?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they may be the victim of abuse or neglect, you or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland nursing home lawsuit. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience litigating all kinds of cases arising from a nursing home’s breach of its duty to its patients. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Nursing Home Facility Waived Its Right to Seek Mediation in Wrongful Death Case, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published June 7, 2016.

Nursing Home Resident Dies After Being Left Outside in the Sun, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published May 13, 2016.

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