Unfortunately, resident-on-resident abuse in nursing homes is pretty common. But who is responsible for the abuse that occurs? Is it the perpetrator or the nursing home? Below, we discuss the types of abuse that might occur as well as who is liable.
For help filing a nursing home abuse claim, call Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
What types of resident-on-resident abuse occur at nursing homes?
While it may not be as prevalent as abuse by caregivers, abuse between residents occurs as well. There are multiple types of abuse that one resident can inflict on another resident at a nursing home, including:
Physical abuse by another resident includes any means of inflicting intentional physical harm such as hitting, beating, or scratching.
Residents who are bedridden, have vocal limitations, have intellectual impairments, are in an altered state of consciousness, or are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are at greater risk of suffering from physical abuse by other residents.
Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident by another resident can be forcible or seemingly consensual.
If the victim does not have the mental or emotional capacity to give legal consent to sexual activity, this constitutes sexual abuse. Diminished capacity to give consent can be the result of intellectual impairments, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or being in an altered state of consciousness.
Financial or Material Abuse
Residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to theft of their valuables and other items.
They are also at risk of theft from other residents who befriend them and offer them advice on handling their finances.
For example, a fellow resident might offer to help your loved one organize her financial paperwork.
Or a resident might offer to make certain investments for her or balance her checkbook. A resident might make purchases for your loved one using her checks or credit cards.
All these things might be perfectly innocent, but they put your loved one at high risk of financial exploitation.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Emotional abuse includes verbal assaults, threats, or intentionally and maliciously inflicting mental harm. For example, if one resident screams at, berates, or humiliates another resident, this constitutes emotional abuse.
Abuse of a Person’s Basic Rights
A nursing home resident’s basic rights include the right to be free from abuse, the right to be treated with dignity, the right to free exercise of one’s religion, and other additional rights.
Abuse can include the trampling of one’s basic rights by a fellow resident.
Who is liable for resident-on-resident abuse at a nursing home?
Both the abusive fellow resident and the nursing home can be liable for resident on resident abuse at a nursing home. The fellow resident can be liable for their intentional abusive acts. The nursing home can be liable for:
- Failure to establish procedures and protocols designed to protect residents from abuse by fellow residents
- Failure to notice obvious warning signs of abuse
- Failure to take action to investigate suspected abuse
- Failure to prevent future abuse once it suspected or confirmed abuse
What are warning signs of abuse at a nursing home?
Abuse might have plenty of signs or none at all, but they will differ with the type of abuse:
Signs of Physical Abuse: Injuries, such as bruises, scrapes, cuts, fractures, sprains, scratches, or restraint marks.
Signs of Sexual Abuse: Injury or trauma to the genital area, infections, or sexually transmitted diseases.
Signs of Financial or Material Abuse: Items going missing from the resident’s room, bank or investment account balances inconsistent with previous financial habits of the resident, missing credit cards or checks, high credit card balances.
Signs of Emotional or Psychological Abuse: Increased anxiety or depression not explained by other factors, confusion or disorientation not consistent with medical condition, hypervigilance, evasiveness, shame, fearfulness, or agitation, especially around a specific resident.
Signs of Abuse of a Person’s Basic Rights: Disappearance of a resident’s religious items, comments made by other residents, malicious or hateful statements made by one resident toward your loved one.
What should I do if my loved one is a victim of resident on resident abuse at a nursing home?
First things first, if you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse, report the abuse to the nursing home’s management. If you believe your loved one is in danger, take them out of the home and/or call 911.
Once you have ensured their family, you can begin to look into filing a claim. Schedule a consultation with an Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer to determine your eligibility for filing a claim.
In order to prove your claim, you need evidence. Nursing homes control much of this evidence, which they might not give up so easily. Do not let that stop you. A lawyer at Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. will gather the evidence for you as well as build your case to prove abuse by another resident.
Call us to discuss your case today: 419-843-6333.