Many elderly people make great friends when they move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Unfortunately, not all nursing home residents are kind or in a rational state of mind. If a fellow nursing home resident has abused your loved one, it’s important to take action to protect them. The attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad share some tips about what to do if your loved one has suffered abuse from a nursing home resident.
Resident Abuse Is More Common Than You Think
According to a study conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine, one in five nursing home residents in the United States suffer from abuse from fellow residents. Behavioral issues, such as aggression, sometimes accompany dementia and other cognitive conditions. Some residents share a room and live in fairly close quarters, which may be a new experience for them. When these factors come together, conflict, abuse, and personal injury can occur.
Common Types Of Nursing Home Abuse
The most common types of abuse that nursing home residents may inflict on others include:
- Verbal abuse: The majority of reported abuse cases involve verbal abuse, such as yelling, screaming, cursing, and name-calling.
- Physical abuse: Regardless of age, hitting, kicking, pushing, or injuring someone is against the law. Because many nursing home residents are elderly and frail, this type of abuse can be deadly.
- Invasion of privacy: Some nursing home residents deal with fellow residents using or taking their property or entering their room without permission.
- Sexual abuse: Although it is rare, residents may also be sexually assaulted by other residents.
Who Is Responsible When One Resident Abuses Another?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a duty of care to keep their residents safe. Even if a resident perpetrates abuse, a nursing home may be liable if someone is hurt or killed by another resident.
Although these facilities are supposed to properly train caregivers to recognize, address, and prevent resident abuse, they often neglect to do this. In addition, many nursing homes are understaffed, which leaves residents vulnerable to abuse by other residents who may be aggressive. This is more of a problem in assisted living facilities, which don’t have as stringent staffing requirements as traditional nursing homes.
Although they are required by law to report abuse to the proper authorities, nursing home administrators sometimes look the other way, even when abuse is reported to them by residents and staff.
If another resident has abused your loved one and it has not been addressed by staff or administrators, you may be able to seek compensation for damages on their behalf. It’s vital to act fast and consult an experienced attorney to protect your loved one’s rights and safety.
What To Do If You Suspect A Resident Is Abusing Your Loved One
If your loved one tells you that they are being abused, take it seriously. Many people are afraid to come forward because they fear that they won’t be believed or that their abuser will retaliate. If your loved one becomes withdrawn or you notice any injuries, such as bruises, scratches, or abrasions, ask them what’s going on.
It is essential to document everything. Take photos of your loved one’s injuries and write down everything they have told you. If you’ve spoken to staff about the issue, make sure to document those conversations, too. Don’t be afraid to gently ask other residents questions as well.
Report the abuse to supervisors and the administration. If they fail to address the abuse, you can report it to local authorities or call the Pennsylvania Department of Aging Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-490-8505.
Reporting the abuse to the proper authorities will most likely trigger an investigation, which may lead to penalties and fines for the nursing home. Reporting the abuse and opening up an investigation can be vital to determining what happened to your loved one and providing important evidence to back up a personal injury or wrongful death claim. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, it’s best to remove them from the nursing home.
Contact A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer In Pennsylvania
Those who are abused by fellow nursing home residents don’t have to suffer in silence. Our team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, is dedicated to fighting for injured victims’ rights, especially the most vulnerable among us. To schedule a free consultation, call us in Bethlehem at 610-867-2900 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout the Lehigh Valley and the Pocono Mountains region and have additional locations in Allentown, Stroudsburg, and Topton, PA.