When Other Nursing Home Residents Cause Harm
One of the most overlooked and serious threats to nursing home residents is other residents. One resident might hit, bite, scratch or otherwise attack another resident, causing injury or death. This is sometimes referred to as resident-to-resident elder mistreatment (R-REM).
Aggressive behavior is particularly common among residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These conditions cause changes to the brain, and those changes can result in sudden and unexpected bursts of violence. These violent episodes may be completely out of character for the patient. Nonetheless, nursing homes are expected to keep residents safe, even from unpredictable violence from other residents. When a nursing home fails to do so, the victim’s family may have a claim.
How Nursing Homes Should Protect Against Resident-On-Resident Aggression
At Reddick Law, our attorneys understand the protections that nursing homes should institute in order to protect residents from each other. When they fail to do so, their inaction may be considered a form of nursing home negligence.
First of all, nursing homes should have a screening process to prevent admitting new residents who may pose a threat to current residents. If the nursing home is connected to a memory care facility, residents with serious dementia or Alzheimer’s should be housed there for targeted care.
Staff should be trained on how to work with residents who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. They should know not to provoke or exacerbate violent outbursts. When an outburst occurs, the nursing home should have a system of documenting it in order to identify patterns and create a plan for addressing future incidents. When a resident’s behavior indicates an ongoing threat to other residents, that resident should be kept away from the rest of the group or even evicted from the nursing home.