Understanding nursing home abuse and neglect

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

New York residents may benefit from understanding more about the statistics concerning nursing home neglect and abuse. Researchers found that nursing home staff are not the only perpetrators, as some abuse is inflicted by roommates or other residents. Studies found that 20 percent of the residents experienced some degree of abuse within the last month. The incidents under consideration could be considered hostile, disruptive and invasive. Physical and sexual abuse were committed in some cases.

Overall, there are nearly 1.4 million people in the country living in nursing homes. Researchers found that the frailty of the residents made the high-rate of altercations, violence and hostility even more detrimental than in normal circumstances. Incidents between residents may result in fractures, bruises or lacerations. Researchers discovered that people most likely to suffer hidden abuse are often those who share housing together.

Other factors that may increase the rate of these incidents occurring include ongoing conflicts between residents and overcrowded living conditions. The number of residents each staff member is tasked with monitoring may also have an adverse influence on the risk of abusive behavior occurring without detection. Surprisingly, the more active and mobile residents were found most likely to be victimized by abuse. Residents with memory impairment are also likely to be abused; 60 percent of the residents at assisted living facilities currently suffer from a memory condition.

Families who suspect a relative has suffered abuse at a nursing home may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to investigate the complaints and help determine which parties can be held liable for the resulting injuries, whether it be another resident or staff member. Lawyers may be able to help families obtain restitution or punitive damages from the judge presiding over the case.

Source: New America Media, “Study: 1 in 5 Nursing Home Residents Abused“, Barbara Peters Smith, December 09, 2014

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