What Happens When Nursing Home Residents Abuse Other Residents?

shutterstock_1317668966-300x200If your parent or loved one lives in a nursing home, you need to check in with them to make sure that they are being treated well by the staff. Unfortunately, residents can be subject to abuse and neglect by the very caregivers that are hired to help them. Other times, these caregivers aren’t committing the abuse themselves, but aren’t adequately protecting them from other resident abusers. This raises the question of how nursing home caregivers are responsible when other parties abuse the residents.

While much attention is concentrated on the nursing home staff abusing residents, there are also instances of the residents suffering abuse at the hands of other residents. According to a 2014 study at Cornell University, one in every five nursing home residents had been impacted by a form of resident-on-resident mistreatment during a four-week span. The mistreatment mostly consisted of verbal abuse, but there were also instances of physical and sexual abuse as well.

 What Contributes to Resident-on-Resident Abuse?

There are suggestions that this type of abuse may be related to the type of facility involved, namely a mixed-purpose care facility. Specifically, the risk may be increased in these mixed-purpose care facilities that house the cognitively impaired, elderly, frail, alongside able-bodied residents with emotional and behavioral disorders.

A lot of the other factors are likely the same that contribute to other forms of abuse. It has to do with inadequacies of the nursing home staff; there are understaffing issues and staff that is unqualified. When nursing home employees don’t receive proper education or training, it can lead to them being stressed out and frustrated, which can lead to the neglect of residents. This can make it an easy environment for the residents to abuse one another.

The staff at a nursing home have a responsibility to protect the residents from any type of mistreatment. If this duty is breached, the resident and their relatives may have a legitimate legal claim against the nursing home. This can clearly be shown in cases where the staff fails to protect a nursing home resident from being neglected or abused.

What is the Duty of Care?

A duty of care is the legal responsibility of someone to avoid behavior that is reasonably foreseeable to cause harm to others. In a nursing home, this duty of care may be based off many things, including the contract between the parties and specific laws that address the duty. In this context, the nursing home has the contractual and legal duty to provide patients with protection, security, and physical and mental care. By providing these services in exchange for monetary compensation, the facility takes on liability when they fail to provide this for residents.

When is the Duty of Care Breached?

The duty of care is breached when the nursing home or its staff fails to provide the duty of care, and this results in injury to the patient. Nursing homes and their staff must not only take care of the homes’ residents, but they also need to shield them from any harm that could be foreseen or predicted, such as being abused by fellow residents.

 Protect Your Loved One from Nursing Home Abuse

Whether a member of the nursing home staff is the abuser or it’s another resident or someone else, nursing homes are legally accountable for this. Abuse is never acceptable. If you or your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse in a nursing home, there are skilled Walton Law attorneys here to help you. Contact us today to fight against nursing home abuse.

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