Resident on Resident Nursing Home Abuse
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. A recent U.S. study found that one in five residents of nursing homes are subject to abuse from other nursing home residents, including their roommates every month. The abuse which can come in the form of either physical abuse or verbal bullying many times goes unnoticed and unreported.
What is Resident on Resident Nursing Home Abuse?
It is defined as any unwelcome negative verbal, physical or sexual interaction from a nursing home resident that has a high potential to cause psychological or physical distress to another nursing home resident.
Why is This a Problem?
Due to the frailty of those in nursing homes even the smallest accidents have the potential to be harmful. Most studies done on nursing home abuse tend to focus on the patient/staff relationship but recently news of deaths resulting from resident on resident abuse has revealed that there is another side to the abuse problem.
A 2016 study by the National Center on Elder Abuse focused on this aspect of abuse and has found that there are not only negative psychological consequences to the residents themselves from experiencing and watching this behavior, but it also impacts the staff as well because they can feel powerless to stop it. Nurses reported that in a typical 8-hour period there are about 30 incidents of resident on resident aggression.
Forms the Abuse Can Take
- Verbal abuse in the form of cursing, screaming at, threatening, bossing/bullying, insulting another.
- Physical abuse such as hitting/striking, kicking, grabbing, pushing, biting, scratching, or spitting at another.
- Other abuse such as throwing things at someone, offering unwanted help, wandering into another’s room, rummaging through the belongings of another, destroying another’s property or using threatening gestures towards another.
- Sexual abuse in the form of unwelcome verbal advances, exposing oneself or touching/kissing another without permission.
Why is this happening?
There is currently no training program in place for nursing homes or their staff regarding how to recognize or intervene in these situations. The situations are not being dealt with properly and continue causing the staff to become desensitized. Adding to the problem, there is an inadequate staff to resident ratio.
It is important to remember that 80% of nursing home residents are cognitively impaired (which tends to lower inhibitions) and of those 40-60% experience aggression and agitation (this tends to be a response to the frustrations of the disease).
Environmental Changes That Can Be Made
Overall it is agreed that many of these problems are preventable by making a few changes.
- Crowded common areas can be a problem, some of the residents have been on their own for a long time and can become short tempered having to interact with so many people in one place. Private space is important.
- Excessive noise can be disturbing to some and cause them to act out.
- There needs to be more meaningful activities to engage these individuals.
- Providing areas for safe unsupervised, unrestricted movement could help with those who wander and allows residents to feel less like prisoners.
Related Articles By Ed Smith:
- How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
- Nursing Home Residents Rights
- New Law Protects Nursing Home Residents
- Over Medicating Nursing Home Residents
- Nursing Home Placement
Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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