Nursing Home Patients Attack Each Other Too Frequently, New Research Study Reports

Patients in nursing homes attack each other much more frequently than previously believed, according to the results of a recent study from Cornell University.  Verbal and physical confrontations between patients were among the most frequent forms of physical and verbal abuse between residents.  Screaming was the most common form of abuse, followed by pushing, punching and fighting.  Victims of patient-to-patient aggression are more likely to be males with wandering or cognitive problems.  The research appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  Read more about the research. 

My experience has been that nursing homes and assisted living facilities frequently fail the aggressors, victims, and their families in cases involving patient-to-patient physical and verbal attacks.  Nursing homes and assisted living facilities often fail to recognize warning signs that patient are becoming more aggressive and pose a threat to other helpless patients.  Sometimes, these attacks occur because facilities understaff and are unable to supervise properly those patients who need supervision.  Many times, aggressive and dangerous patients are not discharged when they should be because their families pay privately.  The patients become more profitable to the facilities than patients whose care is paid by Medicare or Medicaid. 

Patients and their families deserve to be protected from other aggressive patients.  Nursing homes and assisted living facilities should do whatever it takes to provide sufficient protection -- more staff, more supervision, and the courage to discharge.  As this research demonstrates, however, they often don't do enough. 
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia