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Resident Attacks in Nursing Homes: What You Need To Know

ByDave Stopher

Jan 19, 2019 #health, #life

When you have a loved one who is incapable of taking care of themselves, having to put them in a nursing facility might be your only option. When it comes to making such a decision, being able to trust the facility with the care of your loved one is of the utmost importance.

While you might be concerned about abuse or neglect from a staff member, residents can be hurt by other residents as well. Here is some insight when it comes to resident-on-resident attacks, and what you should know.

Provocations for Attacks

While there are a number of reasons why another resident might suddenly go into a rage and possibly attack another, some of the most common reasons are as follows:

  • Mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, etc.
  • They are in pain
  • Suffering with dementia
  • Having a disagreement
  • Overcrowding or stressful environment
  • Lack of medication or medication mix up

Facility Environment Is a Contributing Factor

One of the most vulnerable groups of people to be abused in a nursing home setting are those who are immobile, non-verbal, and not able to properly defend themselves in any way. Due to overcrowding, many facilities don’t always separate the residents according to their specific circumstances.

For instance, you might find an older stroke victim who cannot talk or walk on the same wing with a younger patient who has mental issues. This is a breeding ground for disaster, especially since the staff cannot always watch every resident all of the time.

Preventative Measures

Because nursing facilities are not prisons, residents are free to move around pretty much as they please. However, this makes it very easy for a healthier and stronger resident to have access to a much weaker and vulnerable resident. This is why it is so important that the residents be housed according to their specific needs, and why a proper care plan for each resident must be coordinated.

When it comes to dealing with residents who have dementia, having a care plan can not only keep other residents from being hurt, but also keep the resident from hurting himself. If your loved one has been hurt by another resident while in a nursing facility, you should call your lawyer right away, and find out what options you have available.

A Lack of Proper Staff

Facilities that do not have enough staff as it relates to the number of residents will not be able to provide your loved one with the proper care and supervision that they need. Just as with a school, there must only be a certain amount of people assigned to one individual worker at a time. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your loved one be neglected as well as abused.

Do a Thorough Tour

When you are visiting potential facilities, you will typically be shown the general areas and other places that are typically not being used at that time. However, it would be wise for you to ask to be taken to an area where the residents are interacting at that moment, so you can get a true feel of what your loved one might experience should they reside there. Furthermore, you will be able to see the countenance of the residents, how they interact with one another, and more.

When you are searching for a nursing home for your loved one, it is important that you ask lots of fact-finding questions. Ask them about the qualifications and training of their staff when it comes to handling residents who have a mental illness or are being aggressive.

Don’t be afraid to ask them what measures they take to prevent resident attacks, and how they group their residents. You need to know this in order to make a thoroughly informed decision before placing your loved one in their care.

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