Nursing home abuse is a major problem for seniors throughout Atlanta. Approximately five million reported cases of abuse happen each year, and around 23 cases of abuse go unreported for every one case which comes to the attention of authorities. There are lots of different kinds of abuse which seniors can experience, but CBS reported recently on one surprising type of abuse which does not get a lot of attention: resident-to-resident nursing home abuse in nursing homes and care facilities.
When one nursing home resident harms another, the nursing home can sometimes be held accountable. The key question is whether the nursing home had adequate policies to protect patients and whether staff members provided a reasonable level of care and supervision.
If the staff fell short or if the nursing home's policies were substandard compared with what is customary in the industry, victims and their families could potentially pursue a claim for abuse. An Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer can assist seniors in determining when and if they can make a case against a nursing home based on abuse perpetrated by another resident.
How Common is Patient-to-Patient Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes should be aware of the risk of patient-to-patient abuse and should have policies in place to protect vulnerable seniors. This is especially true given how common it is for one resident of a nursing home to abuse another. A recent article from CBS News revealed just how frequently patient-to-patient abuse happens in residential care environments. CBS was reporting on the largest scale study every conducted of this type of abuse.
The study involved conducting interviews and placing surveillance in 10 different nursing homes, including urban and suburban care facilities. The researchers included around 2,011 patients in the study. Of the 2,011 patients, a total of 407 were victimized by at least one incident of mistreatment over the course of the 30 day period in which the research was conducted.
Mistreatment was defined broadly for the study to include many different kinds of harmful behaviors. Some examples included a senior being run over by another resident's wheelchair intentionally; seniors having food taken off their plates without permission; seniors having other residents go into their rooms and rifle through belongings; and seniors being verbally abused. There were also instances of physical abuse and sexual abuse. In total, 1/4 of the recorded instances of mistreatment involved some type of physical abuse while the remaining 3/4 of recorded incidents included other types of mistreatment.
When one resident abuses another, the victim needs to understand what his rights are and needs to make an assessment of the level of responsibility the nursing care facilities bears for the incident. If the nursing home was negligent and caused or contributed to the senior being abused, the victim may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit to obtain compensation for damages from the nursing home care center.
The Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC can represent patients or their families after abuse occurs in a nursing home setting. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.