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Study Finds Resident-to-Resident Elder Abuse Prevalent in Nursing Homes

Care Worker Mistreating Senior Woman At Home

Nursing home abuse of the elderly is prevalent, a new study shows. However, the source of the abuse may be surprising to some. Researchers found that as many as one in five nursing home residents suffer abuse at the hands of other residents. The new data highlights once again the importance of nursing home safety across the country.

Various forms of nursing home abuse studied

The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at different kinds of abuse, including verbal, physical and sexual. Scientists looked at more than 2,000 residents of 10 different nursing homes throughout the state of New York. Half of the nursing homes were in urban areas and the other half were in suburban areas.

A total of 83 percent of the facilities and 84 percent of the residents in those facilities participated in the study. Researchers used a variety of sources for their data compilation, including resident and staff interviews, accident or incident reports, observations and chart reviews. Shift coupons, a method by which nursing homes monitor adverse events, were also included in the data.

Dr. Mark Lachs, head of the Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and his colleagues analyzed the data that was collected for a full month at the facilities. Out of the 2,011 residents studied, 407 experienced some type of abuse during that time frame.

The research team found that 45 percent of the abuse was verbal – residents yelling at other residents, name-calling and inappropriate words. Another 26 percent involved physical assault, which included pushing and hitting. Around 20 percent of the abuse cases involved invasion of privacy, such as a resident entering another resident’s room without permission and rifling through personal belongings. Sexual assault accounted for just three percent of the total abuse in the nursing homes studied.

More concerns about elder abuse

This is not the first study to reveal such disturbing statistics about resident-to-resident nursing home abuse. In 2014, another research team at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University, which also included Dr. Lachs, found that around 20 percent of nursing home residents encountered some type of hostile or aggressive behavior from other residents of the facility. The type of mistreatment followed the same categories and percentages of this current study.

In addition to the dangers posed by other residents, people in nursing homes are also at risk for abuse by employees of the facility. According to the National Council on Aging, as many as five million elders are abused every year. Elders that have suffered abuse have a 300-percent higher risk of death than those that have not been mistreated.

If you have a loved one that has suffered from abuse in a nursing home, legal help is available. The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Eisbrouch Marsh are well-versed in elder abuse cases and can help you determine whether you are eligible for compensation. For a free case evaluation and answers to your legal questions, contact Eisbrouch & Marsh today at 201-342-5545.

  1. Annals of Internal Medicine, The Prevalence of Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment in Nursing Homes, http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2528279
  2. Weill Cornell Medical College, Study Highlights Prevalence of Mistreatment between Nursing Home Residents, http://weill.cornell.edu/news/pr/2014/11/study-highlights-prevalence-of-mistreatment-between-nursing-home-residents-pillemer-lachs.html
  3. CBS News, Nursing Home Abuse Common, But from an Unlikely Source, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nursing-home-violence-common-but-from-an-unlikely-source/
  4. Nursing Home Abuse Guide, Learn More about Nursing Home Abuse, http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/
  5. National Council on Aging, What is Elder Abuse? https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/