When we think of nursing home abuse and neglect, we typically think of nursing home staff who treat elderly residents poorly or who maliciously violate their rights. While abuse from nursing home aides and employees is certainly a reality that accounts for a majority of elder abuse cases, there are also many cases in which victims are abused by fellow residents. In fact, a recent study has found that abuse perpetrated by nursing home residents is actually more common than most people would think. The study – led by a team from Cornell and presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America – was one of the first to analyze negative relationships between U.S. nursing home residents. It found that nearly 1 in 5 nursing home residents experience negative aggression or violence from fellow residents, often within a four-week period of moving into the facility. Researchers looked at approximately 2,000 individuals from 10 U.S. nursing homes and considered incidents of “negative aggression,” which could range from residents going through another’s belongings to physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse. They also found that many incidents involving individuals who shared the same living quarters, or roommates. In cases where nursing homes were able to provide better staff to resident ratios, the rates of abuse were typically less. Researchers are hoping that the new study can provide the basis for change among all U.S. nursing and assisted-living facilities.
The Rights of Victims
Nursing homes have the responsibility of ensuring that elderly residents – who are often in fragile or vulnerable states of health – are safe from preventable harm. When they fail to notice signs of abuse or inappropriate actions between fellow residents and fail to address the issue, they can potentially be held accountable for their negligence and liable for the damages victims suffer. You can learn more about nursing home abuse and the rights of victims on our website or by contacting a New York City personal injury lawyer from Jaroslawicz & Jaros, LLP.