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Nursing home abuse can come from fellow residents

Illinois families who make the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home will not do so lightly. There are many issues that can lead to a person requiring constant care at a facility: from a family being unable to provide adequate care themselves to a person who has medical problems that make living in a nursing home a necessity. One issue that should be a concern to those who place a loved one in a facility is nursing home abuse. Abuse can take many different forms, from physical to emotional to sexual. Often, this is associated with employees at the institution, but a new study is indicating that abuse also occurs at the hands of other nursing home residents.

The study looked at nursing homes in New York and used surveillance tactics on 2,000 participating residents in ten nursing homes. It found that a large portion of the abuse was classified as mistreatment. This included residents looking through the belongings of other residents in their rooms, running one another over with wheelchairs, taking food away, and committing verbal abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Unwelcome activities that could have led to physical or psychological problems fell into this category. Three-quarters were reported as verbal with the rest of the abuse being considered physical.

Out of the 2,011 people who were subject of the study, more than 400 had at least one incident of being mistreated. According to studies from The Administration of Community Living - which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - approximately 5 million people are victimized by elder abuse each year. This does not account for the instances that may go unreported, which can be as high as 23 for every one that is reported.

If there is abuse taking place in a nursing home, it can cause a significant amount of damage to the victim and even result in death. While families expect their loved ones to be cared for appropriately in nursing homes, the thought of abuse is always there. What is something of a surprise is that abuse can come not just from the staff, but from other residents. Given that a facility is responsible for its elderly residents, resident-on-resident abuse could be the basis of a lawsuit against the nursing home. Those who believe their loved one has been subjected to neglect, nursing home abuse, or nursing home death need to make sure they have their legal bases covered. Help from a qualified and experienced attorney may prove beneficial in these instances.

Source: CBS News, "Nursing home abuse common, but from an unlikely source," Mary Brophy Marcus, June 15, 2016

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