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What we once thought we knew about nursing home abuse may soon be turned on its ear, thanks to a new study that points to other residents as contributors to the physical violence that goes on in some assisted living facilities.

While caretakers and other nursing home staff members are typically the first to be blamed for a new cut or bruise, researchers suggest a roommate or other resident is a likely culprit.

Karl Pillemer, professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University and lead author of the study, also found that staff members commonly seem unaware of the issues that exist between residents. Although they may not be the direct cause of this abuse, it is their responsibility to appropriately monitor patients and prevent it.

This study is the first of its kind, examining the nature of invasive and disruptive incidents between residents. Based on Pillemer’s research, one in every five nursing home residents suffered abuse within a four-week window. The study results were made public earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. With nearly 1.4 million people comprising the nursing home population in the U.S., identifying the causes of the abuse and neglect that harms so many is critical.

Examining the Evidence

Pillemer’s Cornell team examined 2,011 individuals from 10 nursing homes, employing a variety of methods to gather the information they needed. They relief on interviews with residents and staff, reports from inspectors and more.

From the data, researchers developed a profile of each type of resident that was the most likely to offend and found that typically these individuals were housed together. While this may have exacerbated the problem, other factors that influenced abuse scenarios were crowded quarters and ongoing conflicts between roommates.

What Pillemer’s team discovered about the typical victim was disconcerting.

“These are more active and mobile residents who are more likely to be in harm’s way. They tend to be younger, less cognitively impaired, more likely to have mood disorders and more likely to be in a memory-care unit,” he said.

Getting Help for a Widespread Problem

The physical, emotional, verbal and mental abuse some aging citizens are routinely exposed to is unacceptable, yet somehow it continues in many environments.

At The Eichholz Law Firm, our nursing home abuse attorneys believe that any suspicion of mistreatment or neglect toward your loved one should be taken seriously. We will always fight to protect the rights of victims and their families, which is why we offer you a 100% FREE case consultation.

To take the first step today, call (866) 947-7449 or fill out our free review form if your loved one needs help.