When the nursing home staff is overworked and poorly trained, it can result in one resident of the facility attacking another resident. Nursing homes have a duty of care toward their residents, and part of this is ensuring that they stay safe from harm. When they fail, it can result in serious or even fatal injuries.
Recognizing abuse by another resident involves observing your loved one’s appearance, words, and actions. This includes paying attention to any changes in their behavior, especially around other residents.
Who Can Cause Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Sometimes nursing home abuse can come from staff members who are supposed to care for residents’ needs. Other times, visitors, vendors, or nursing home volunteers can cause abuse. Finally, other nursing home residents can cause abuse.
Some residents have greater physical strength and independence than others. They may use this to take advantage of other weaker or impaired residents. In addition to this, certain health conditions like dementia can also result in violent or abusive behavior.
Types of Abuse that Can Occur in a Nursing Home
There are many types of abuse, but common forms that can happen between nursing home residents include the following:
- Physical abuse, which occurs when a resident attacks or injures your loved one
- Sexual abuse, which occurs when a fellow resident involves your loved one in witnessing or engaging in sexual acts
- Emotional or psychological abuse, which occurs when a resident demeans, terrorizes, or insults your loved one
It’s important to keep in mind that more than one type of abuse can happen simultaneously.
Signs to Look for if You Suspect Abuse by Another Nursing Home Resident
The signs of abuse may vary, and you may see several signs that indicate abuse. Sometimes, your loved one may be able to tell you about abuse, but in other cases, they might be unable or afraid to do so. Signs of abuse can include:
- Bruises, cuts, scratches, or other wounds
- Torn clothing or damaged personal items, such as glasses
- Bruises in the genital area or on the breasts
- New development of sexually transmitted diseases or infections
- Changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn, agitated, or fearful
- Dehydration and malnourishment
Certain signs of abuse may be present regardless of who commits the abuse. If you suspect another resident is causing the abuse, you can observe how your loved one acts when they are around other residents. Here are some signs to watch for:
- They seem withdrawn or more fearful around certain residents
- They avoid participating in certain activities if specific residents are present
These factors can help you identify who may be causing the abuse. You also should listen to your loved one. If they report anything to you, listen to their concerns and follow up regarding any incidents.
Take written notes of what your loved one tells you. You may also be able to take photographs of evidence that indicates abusive behavior.
Actions You Can Take After Abuse by Another Resident Occurs
After experiencing abuse, getting your loved one help is essential. Sometimes, the situation will involve working closely with nursing home staff to resolve the problem. For example, your loved one may need to move to a different room, or staff may need to implement extra safety measures.
You may also choose to move your loved one to a new facility. If your loved one is in immediate danger, call the police. You can also contact adult protective services to get your loved one help.
Some abuse warrants criminal investigation, but regardless of whether criminal charges are filed, you may also choose to pursue financial compensation in civil court. Consulting with an attorney can help you learn more about your options.
Get a Free Consultation Today in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case
Abuse by fellow nursing home residents is never acceptable, and if your loved one was a victim, let us give you the support you need. The team at Brown & Barron is ready to help with your case.
We will carefully review your case’s facts and your legal options with you. We will work with you and your loved one to get fair compensation. You can contact us today to get started with a free consultation.