Elder abuse comes in many different forms, including financial, physical, and emotional. Sometimes it is a caregiver stealing the elder’s money or personal possessions. Other times, the abuse can just be an employee not doing his or her job, leaving a elder to waste away secluded and cut off from those that love him and her and the outside world. These abuses are all tragic, regardless of what form they take. But some of the most shocking and heart-wrenching cases involve an elder who is suffering from actual physical abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for him or her. Along the same vein is a type of abuse that is never talked about and likely often overlooked: resident against resident abuse.
New research indicates that every month, one in five people who is living in a nursing home facility is involved in an aggressive interaction with a fellow nursing home resident. The report states that these altercations are commonplace and happen every day within the nursing home setting. More troubling is the lack of reporting of such incidents, even though the aggressive interactions can result in everything from bruises and broken bones to depression and death, as was the case when a 66-year-old woman strangled her 57-year-old roommate to death.
The study was conducted over six months as researchers reviewed records and observed and recorded any incidents they witnessed. While the issues seem to be prevalent in many nursing facilities, there is little being done about it as nursing homes police themselves and rarely report such incidents.
Because nursing homes are charged with the duty to care and protect their residents from abuse, regardless of whether the perpetrator is another resident or staff member, they may be held liable for an injuries caused to residents by other residents.