When people think of
nursing home abuse, they usually think that staff members are the abusers. In fact, residents
of nursing homes are also abused by other fellow residents. According
to a study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine,
at least one in five residents of nursing homes is a victim of elder abuse
by roommates or other residents.
Elderly patients who have neuro-degenerative illnesses like dementia or
Alzheimer’s disease are particularly susceptible to becoming victims
of abuse. When they enter a nursing home, they are often in communal living
environments with strangers for the first time in their lives. Unfortunately,
these patients usually have behavioral issues that make living with others
difficult and they are often incapable of protecting themselves or explaining
that they are being abused.
The study, which involved 407 nursing home residents, found that at least
20 percent had been abused in the past month.
The types and frequency of the abuse includes:
Verbal abuse (screaming or using inappropriate words): 9.1 percent
Physical abuse: 5.2 percent
Sexual abuse: 0.6 percent
Other elder abuse (such as menacing gestures or invasion of privacy): 5.3 percent
Researchers included any incidence of aggressive, negative, and unwelcome
behavior from one resident to another, which were identified through staff
interviews, resident interviews, observation, chart review, and incident
and accident reports. The findings are based only on reported cases, suggesting
that the actual number may be much higher. Residents were an average age
of 84 years old with women making up 73 percent of the study group. Roughly
16 percent of the residents resided in a special unit for dementia patients.
Why Does Abuse Occur?
Sadly, nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not always provide
the services we expect our loved ones to receive. A nursing home may be
understaffed, or its staff may not be sufficiently trained. The home or
assisted living facility may not have proper procedures in place to supervise
the residents, or it may fail to properly train its staff. The facility
may hire employees who are unfit to care for frail or vulnerable residents.
Nursing home operators in New York State have a specific responsibility
to keep residents safe. Part of that duty is to prevent and stop abuse.
Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. has represented the elderly and the
victims of abuse against assisted living facilities and nursing homes
and we can help make sure your loved one has an opportunity to obtain
justice against those people who have abused them. We are prepared to
do what it takes to help you seek justice for your loved one.
Contact us to
schedule a free case evaluation.