Nursing Home resident in wheel chair

At Hupy and Abraham, we know how common instances of abuse and neglect are in nursing homes and other long-term care settings. Thanks to awareness initiatives like Elder Abuse Awareness Day, many other people are aware as well. Although, most of us are only familiar abuse and neglect perpetrated by nursing home staff. Now, a recent study by the Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care found that 1 in 5 residents experience verbal or physical mistreatment at the hands of other residents.

An estimated five million older Americans suffer from abuse and neglect by staff in skilled care facilities each year, but resident-to-resident abuse can also occur when staff fails to protect our loved ones from other residents. While issues are bound to arise between residents, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, abuse from any source undermines the right to a safe and peaceful living environment.

Types of Resident-To-Resident Abuse:

  • Verbal abuse – defined as cursing, screaming or yelling
  • Physical abuse – hitting, kicking or biting
  • Sexual abuse – genital exposure, inappropriate touching or other sexual contact
  • Behavior -- inappropriate, disruptive or hostile by other residents

In the study, many residents accused of abusing other residents were often cognitively disabled, but physically capable of moving around and causing harm. In long-term care setting, any resident aggression that has the potential to cause physical and/or psychological injury to the resident-victim is considered abuse. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to protect all residents, including the resident who perpetrated the abuse, and to prevent it from happening.

Duty of Care

If a resident suffers from a cognitive disability like dementia or Alzheimer’s and harms another resident, the facility is responsible. As professional caregivers, they should know that residents suffering from these disabilities may be prone to violence or unsafe behavior. Therefore, facility must act accordingly to protect other residents. As well, if an able-bodied resident has ever demonstrated violent or dangerous behavior toward others, the facility must properly supervise or move him/her to another facility where they cannot hurt anyone. If they fail to take the appropriate precautions, they can be found responsible for any harm that has occurred.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your loved one’s, or another abusive resident’s, age or medical condition makes a nursing home abuse or neglect case irrelevant. If you believe that your loved one has been hurt in a nursing home or long-term care setting, we encourage you to read our FREE Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims and to browse our website.

The experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Hupy and Abraham are here to help. Call them at 800-800-5678 or start a live chat 24/7 at