Nursing Home Justice Blog

What to Do if a Violent Resident Assaulted a Loved One?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

June 28, 2023

Nursing homes and their staff might not always be the direct cause of your loved one’s abuse. In many cases, violent residents and those with mental illness could put your loved one at risk for abuse.

Attacks from other residents are referred to as resident-to-resident elder mistreatment (R-REM), and they could lead to your loved one’s overall health decline if steps aren’t taken to address the issue. Here’s more on the types of R-REM and what you should do if it happens to your loved one.

Common Types of Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment

Any unwelcome action a resident performs that negatively affects another resident is considered resident-to-resident elder mistreatment. Mistreatment could be verbal, physical, or sexual and could arise from roommate disputes, unprovoked actions, an invasion of privacy, or other hostile interactions.

  • Verbal Abuse – False accusations, insults, or antagonistic remarks are all examples of verbal abuse and could lead to a more serious violent altercation. According to a 2016 study, verbal abuse was the most prevalent form of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment.
  • Physical Abuse – This involves the violent patient directly assaulting your loved one. Violent acts like kicking, punching, or strangling are common abuse tactics. Bruising, broken bones, or marks around the victim’s neck are signs of physical abuse.
  • Sexual Assault Any unwanted sexual advances committed by another resident.

When Are Residents Most at Risk of R-REM?

Research suggests that R-REM is common in facilities that care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. This is primarily because these cognitive impairments are associated with behavioral symptoms, such as entering others’ rooms, yelling, or other disruptive actions.

One study found that “non-impaired residents living with or near residents with dementia had higher rates of dissatisfaction with their living situation.” Understaffed nursing homes with poorly trained staff might fail to recognize abuse. They could knowingly let it continue.

Negative Effects of Resident-to-Resident Mistreatment

R-REM could lead to severe consequences and hinder a resident’s recovery journey. Physical attacks could cause residents to fall and suffer fractures, lacerations, concussions, bruises, and other injuries.

R-REM could also impact victims mentally. Individuals in nursing home care need a place where they feel safe to recover fully. An attack by another resident could leave victims feeling helpless, depressed, or anxious. These feelings can worsen if the abuser isn’t removed from the facility. Overall, resident-to-resident elder mistreatment decreases the victim’s quality of life.

What to Do if Your Loved One Was Attacked by Another Patient

When your loved one is assaulted by a nursing home resident, whether physically abused, sexually abused, or verbally abused, you must pay attention to the signs of abuse and act immediately. Here’s what you should do if another resident assaults your loved one:

  • Report the Incident to the Nursing Home – If you suspect any mistreatment, you must report this to the facility administrator, social worker, or staff member.
  • Contact Your Local Ombudsman – Ombudsmen advocate for nursing home residents’ rights and are responsible for ensuring long-term care facilities are safe environments. They can help you resolve the issue with the nursing home or relocate your loved one to a safer facility if necessary.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services – Adult Protective Services investigates all forms of elder abuse and neglect. Call them to make a report if you suspect your loved one was attacked.
  • Document Your Loved One’s Injuries – Take pictures of any bruising on your loved one that resulted from the abusive incident. This could help strengthen your case.
  • Collect Medical Records – Make sure your loved one receives prompt medical treatment for their injuries and keep a record of the doctor’s evaluation. Furthermore, document any medical bills you receive from the visit.
  • Contact an Attorney – After you’ve reported the incident to the appropriate agencies, you should contact an attorney immediately. They could perform their own investigation and gather evidence to determine fault.

Was Your Loved One Attacked by Another Resident? Call Today

Nursing homes must train staff members to identify any signs of R-REM and take action to prevent it. This might involve removing the violent resident from the nursing home permanently. However, negligent nursing homes often fail to train their staff to handle these issues, and other residents pay the price.

Call an Elder Abuse Lawyer at Nursing Home Justice today at (303) 775-8128 or through our contact form to schedule a free consultation if another resident attacks your loved one. We’ll listen to your story and help you recover financial compensation for your damages.

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