1 in 5 nursing home residents are abused – by other residents

Cornell University has completed the first study on resident-to-resident violence and aggression in nursing homes.

The studied behaviors ranged widely, from physical attacks and sexual violence to invasive acts, like going through another resident’s possessions.

The study gathered data for more than 2000 residents in 10 nursing homes. The researchers interviewed residents, and pulled reports by nursing home staff and inspectors for a 4-week period.

  • 16% of residents experienced verbal abuse, defined as cursing, screaming or yelling
  • 7 % reported physical abuse— hitting, kicking or biting
  • 3 % experienced sexual abuse, such as genital exposure, inappropriate touching, or attempts for sexual favors
  • 8 % reported inappropriate, disruptive or hostile behavior by other residents

These are surprisingly high rates of resident-on-resident abuse. Skilled nursing facilities tend to be run similarly to hospitals, as the residents require more physical care than assisted living facility residents.

Yet, nurses and staff had only reported a fraction of the abuse that the residents experienced.

This is more evidence that a facility’s staffing levels are a big indicator of the likelihood ­of abuse—not only from staff, but also from other residents.

Researchers noted that residents accused of abusing other residents were often somewhat cognitively disabled, but physically capable of moving around nursing home.

The research team is planning to use the same methods to study assisted living facilities. It will be interesting to see if those facilities are any safer: about 60% of assisted living residents suffer from dementia.


About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.