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Nursing Homes Have a Duty to Prevent All Abuse, Not Just Abuse Committed by Staff

Although concerns for nursing home residents often arise based on allegations of abuse by staff members, other residents can also be perpetrators of abuse. Of course, residents live together in one facility and will often interact, but a nursing home has an obligation to protect its patients—even from other residents.

The Nursing Home’s Duty to Prevent Abuse

Nursing homes have a duty to keep their residents safe and prevent abuse, including abuse from other residents. If one resident is being abusive towards other residents, then the resident should be controlled, and removed if necessary. There are also a number of ways nursing homes can help prevent abuse, for example by creating more private spaces for residents, improving lighting, ensuring proper staffing, and taking action when residents engage in abusive behaviors. If a nursing home fails to take an issue seriously, it may liable for injuries that could have been prevented.

All residents have the right to live in a safe environment. Mistreatment against residents can come in the form abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Abuse can include physical, mental, verbal, and sexual abuse. Neglect is the failure to provide proper care to a resident. Exploitation means the illegal or improper use of a resident’s money or belongings.

Federal nursing home regulations provide residents with certain rights, including the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to have security of personal possessions. The facility is required to have policies and procedures that prohibit abuse, neglect, and exploitation, to investigate and report all allegations of abuse, and to protect residents from mistreatment.

Study Shows 20% of Nursing Home Residents Are Abused by Other Residents

According to one news source, about 20% of nursing home residents suffer from physical or verbal abuse from other residents. The study looked at ten different nursing homes for a period of one month, and had almost 2,000 resident participants. It was the first large-scale study investigating resident-on-resident abuse.

The study showed surprising levels of abuse in the nursing homes. The mistreatment included different unwelcome behaviors, including verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, food being taken away, residents coming in rooms uninvited and going through other residents’ belongs, and being struck by a wheelchair. These types of behaviors can cause physical and psychological distress. Researchers believe that despite the common occurrence of resident-on-resident abuse, it is often unreported.

Consult an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Chicago

If you or your loved one’s rights were violated by a nursing home staff member’s or fellow resident’s physical abuse, the Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Moll Law Group can pursue a claim or sue the responsible entity on your behalf. We can help you explore the scope of your options so that you know how you can most effectively proceed. Our injury attorneys also represent people in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Contact us via our online form or call us at 312-462-1700 to set up a free consultation.

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Illinois Court Holds Nursing Home Must Turn Over Internal Documents Related to Resident’s Fall, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, February 27, 2017.

The Continuing Danger of Lead Paint in Chicago-Area Homes, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2017.

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