Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect: Resident vs. Resident
When people think of nursing home abuse/neglect, they typically picture nursing home staff members abusing or neglecting the residents within the facility. However, there is a lesser-known type of abuse/neglect that occurs, and that is abuse/neglect that occurs between nursing home residents. A Reuters study shows that one in five residents are victims of nursing home abuse/neglect that is perpetrated by another resident. Too often, this type of abuse/neglect is not reported to staff, and the staff members do not notice the abuse/neglect is occurring.
Still, when abuse/neglect between residents occurs, the abused/neglected individual can suffer serious injuries and sometimes, even death. Even though in these cases it is not a staff member that perpetrated the abuse/neglect, nursing homes can still face potential liability.
Types of Abuse/neglect Between Residents
The types of nursing home abuse/neglect that occurs between residents are very similar to those that occur between residents and staff members. In the study, patients stated that they were most likely to be the victim of physical abuse/neglect such as kicking, biting, hitting, spitting, scratching, and having objects thrown at them.
Sexual abuse/neglect is also all too common among nursing home residents. Usually this type of abuse/neglect comes in the form of one resident exposing their genitals to someone else in the nursing home, or making unwanted sexual comments or advances towards other nursing home residents.
Reasons Nursing Home Residents Engage in Abuse/neglect
There are many reasons nursing home residents abuse/neglect each other. The first is that not all residents have the same cognitive and physical abilities. A younger resident, for example, may be able to move freely around the home with very little assistance. However, they may have cognitive disabilities due to an injury, illness, or as a result of aging that makes them more prone to abuse/neglect other residents. In these instances, they typically find older and weaker residents to victimize.
However, certain conditions within nursing homes also make residents more prone to abuse/neglect others. The study shows that nursing home abuse/neglect between residents is more likely when the facility is overcrowded, understaffed, or when staff members shrug the abuse/neglect off as normal behavior and do not try to intervene.
Holding Nursing Homes Liable for Abuse/neglect Between Residents
Even when the perpetrator of the abuse/neglect is not a staff member of the nursing home, injured individuals and their family members can still hold the facility liable. Nursing home staff members owe a duty of care to their residents at all times. This means that they have a legal obligation to identify when abuse/neglect is happening and intervene when necessary. Nursing home staff members must also provide supervision so they know when abuse/neglect is happening.
Additionally, nursing homes also have a responsibility to perform a background check on their residents. This is so they can identify when a resident has an aggressive or violent history. When nursing homes and their staff members fail to meet this duty, they can be held liable for any injuries one resident causes another through abuse/neglect.
Was Your Loved One Hurt? Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse/neglect Lawyer can Help
Nursing home abuse/neglect that occurs between residents may be difficult to stop, but staff members still have a responsibility to ensure their residents are always safe. If you or your loved one has been the victim of this kind of mistreatment, our Tampa nursing home abuse/neglect lawyer at Kohn Law, P.A. is here to help. Call us today at (813) 428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.