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Attorneys for Resident-on-Resident Attacks in New Mexico Nursing Homes

Legal Help for Nursing Home Resident-on-Resident Attack Victims

Not all physical abuse against nursing home residents is committed by nursing home staff. In fact, in a large number of cases, the perpetrator is another resident. However, nursing homes have a duty of care to protect their residents and prevent this type of abuse. If your elderly loved one has been attacked by another resident in a nursing home, call Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 as soon as possible for a free consultation. We can advise you of your options under the law.

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What Types of Resident-on-Resident Attacks Occur in Nursing Homes?

A study on resident-to resident aggression in long-term care facilities was published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study involved focus groups composed of nursing home staff and residents who could reliably self-report. A total of 16 focus groups were conducted, involving 96 staff members and seven residents from multiple clinical and non-clinical groups. The focus groups described 35 different types of physical, verbal, and sexual resident-on-resident abuse. Physical aggression was listed by 72 percent of the focus groups, and sexual aggression was discussed by 38%.

Frequently occurring types of resident-to-resident physical attacks were found to be:

  • Pushing (discussed by 44% of the focus groups)
  • Punching or fighting (44%)
  • Sexual abuse – inappropriate touching (38%)
  • Hurling or pouring liquids (31%)
  • Hitting with an object (31%)
  • Slapping (31%)
  • Ramming with a wheelchair (19%)
  • Grabbing (19%)
  • Throwing objects (19%)
  • Sexual abuse – attempting to get into bed with a resident (13%)
  • Kicking (13%)
  • Smothering with a pillow (6%)
  • Scratching (6%)
  • Slamming a door on the fingers (6%)
  • Twisting or bending an arm (6%)
  • Spitting (6%)

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What Are the Risk Factors for Resident-on-Resident Abuse?

In the study, researchers found that resident-on-resident attacks in nursing homes occur most frequently in dining rooms, residents’ rooms, corridors and hallways, lounges, elevators, and nursing stations, in the afternoon or evening. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) Resource Center reports that the following facility risk factors contribute to resident-on-resident abuse:

  • Inadequate number of staff
  • Lack of staff training on individualized care to support the needs, capabilities, and rights of residents
  • Lack of engagement and meaningful activities
  • Crowded common areas
  • Excessive noise
  • High numbers of residents with dementia

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What Are the Responsibilities of Nursing Homes for Resident-on Resident Attacks?

All nursing home residents have the right to live in a safe environment that supports their individuality and ensures they are treated with dignity and respect. Under the laws of every state, nursing home facilities are required to protect their residents from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Federal requirements for nursing homes certified for Medicare and Medicaid emphasize the importance of individualized care to reduce and prevent abuse of residents by other residents. Among other things, these facilities are responsible for:

  • Identifying residents who have a history of disruptive or intrusive interactions or who exhibit behavior that make them more likely to be involved in altercations; and
  • Identifying factors that increase the risks associated with individual residents, including factors that could trigger an altercation.

According to LTCO, whether harm is caused to residents by other residents intentionally or accidentally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expects long-term care facilities to take any action necessary to prevent it, to the greatest possible extent.

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What Should Nursing Homes Do to Prevent or Reduce Resident-to-Resident Attacks?

LTCO recommendations to nursing homes for preventing or reducing resident attacks on residents include the following:

  • Train staff and implement policies to prevent, recognize, and respond to resident-on-resident attacks.
  • Ensure adequate staffing to meet resident needs and provide supervision.
  • Identify residents with risk factors for or a history of resident-to-resident abuse, develop care plans to address their needs, and monitor them closely.
  • Clear common areas of clutter.
  • Reduce noise and overcrowding.
  • Provide areas for supervised, unrestricted, safe movement.
  • Promote meaningful activities and opportunities for engagement based on individual interests, abilities, and needs.

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Why You Need an Attorney

If your elderly loved one has been the victim of a nursing home resident-on-resident attack, you may have a claim for compensation against the responsible parties. Lawsuits against nursing homes are complex cases involving state and federal regulations and specific medical knowledge. To succeed in your claim, you will need to prove that the injury to your loved one was caused by negligence and meet specific legal standards and procedure requirements. An experienced Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyer can provide the sound legal counsel and guidance you need.

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Research on Resident-on-Resident Nursing Home Abuse

A study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) entitled, “Resident-to-Resident Violent Incidents in Nursing Homes.” This case-control study involved nursing home residents who had sustained an injury that left visible evidence inflicted by another resident during the previous year. Among the 294 injured residents studied, the injuries sustained included:

  • 39 fractures
  • 6 dislocations
  • 105 bruises or hematomas
  • 113 lacerations
  • 31 reddened areas

In this study, researchers also found that:

  • 15% of total injuries were severe.
  • 25 residents were involved in more than one incident causing lasting physical harm.
  • The second incident occurred within 60 days of the first in 60% of the cases.
  • 56% of the injuries were inflicted in the head and face region.
  • 26% of the injuries were inflicted in the upper extremities.

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Contact Us Today

Nursing homes have a duty of care to the people who reside in their facilities, and that includes a responsibility to prevent residents from hurting other residents. If your loved one has been injured by another resident in a nursing home, get in touch with Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP today. We are dedicated advocates for victims of resident-on-resident attacks in New Mexico nursing homes.

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