It is well-known that there are many instances of abuse that nursing home residents face in the hands of employees and facility staff members. However, a new study completed by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care in New York is shedding light on the alarming fact that it is disturbingly common for senior residents who live in nursing homes to experience abuse at the hands of other residents. According to a CBS News report, the study states that one in five, or about 20 percent of nursing home residents, experienced verbal or physical nursing home abuse from other residents.

What Did the Researchers Find?

verbal abuseResearchers conducted surveillance for a full month in ten urban and suburban nursing homes in New York, in which more than 2,000 residents participated. CBS reports that this is the first large-scale study of this kind looking at resident-on-resident physical and emotional abuse. Researchers defined mistreatment as “a range of behaviors from barging into someone’s room and going through their possessions to being run over by a wheelchair, having food grabbed off a plate and verbal abuse such as calling someone names.” They even documented occurrences of physical violence and sexual assault. Researchers determined that about 75 percent of these incidents were verbal and about 25 percent physical.

What Are the Red Flags to Look Out For?

Whether it’s in the hands of a nursing home employee or a fellow resident, abuse is abuse. And the pain that is felt as a result of this abuse when an elderly resident is a victim is very real. It is possible to detect such abuse by looking out for the following red flags:

    Sign of Nursing Home Abuse

  • Physical Abuse: Some of the most common signs of physical abuse include bruises, broken bones, burn injuries, abrasions and pressure marks. Common signs of physical abuse against an elderly person often include unexplained signs of injury such as those listed above. It’s also important to be alert for a history of broken bones, sprains, dislocations or sudden loss hair or tooth loss.
  • Emotional Abuse: Signs of verbal abuse or emotional abuse include withdrawal and apathy, unusual behavior such as biting or rocking, nervous or fearful behavior especially around the abuser, strained relationships between elder and other resident and forced isolation. Emotional abuse is one of the most difficult problems to spot because the victim may not be able to convey the severity of the situation due to illness, dementia or the dear of being neglected. Emotional abuse can range from a simple verbal insult to an aggressive verbal attack. It can also include threats of physical harm isolation.
  • Sexual Abuse: Some signs of sexual abuse include bruises around the breasts or genital areas, evidence of sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal or rectal bleeding, difficulty walking or standing up and depressed or withdrawn behavior.

Contact a Rhode Island Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer meeting with couple for a nursing home abuse claimIf you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. Our firm is working with experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Rhode Island, who charge no fee unless you win a settlement or award. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online.


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Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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