Nursing Home Abuse Among Residents Could Relate to Bullying Behavior

Patterns of Bullying Behavior Among Residents Could Lead to Nursing Home Abuse

Bullying BehaviorA recent study on nursing home abuse found that 1 in 5 residents of a nursing home, long-term care facility, or skilled nursing facility faced elder abuse in some form. While many have pointed fingers at overworked or undertrained nurses, or abusive family members, the report found that many instances of bullying behavior that led to nursing home abuse involved other residents of the facility.

The study also found that the resident abusers in a nursing home, when they were patients themselves, tended to be the more mobile, active, and cognitively in-tact patients, which led to questions regarding patterns of bullying behavior that carried over through the residents’ lifetimes – from playground to hospital room.

One patient, referred to as Eileen because she did not want to be identified, said of bullying behavior at her nursing home: “There’s this guy,” she says. “He made advances to me all the time. I did not want his advances. Many times I had to take my grabber and actually strike him to get him to leave me alone.” Another resident, Eileen says, is a “real bully. She has terrorized quite a few people. She tries to boss people around. She says harassing things.”

“These violent and aggressive and conflictual incidents are extraordinarily stressful for staff,” said lead researcher Karl Pillemer. He added that not only do the bullying incidents exacerbate the staff, but it puts nurses and nursing assistants at risk of physical harm. Because the staff are stressed out, incidents of nursing home abuse could increase because the staff fear for their own safety.

In some instances, according to the study, staff want to medicate patients to control their behavior and reduce the risk of patient-based nursing home abuse. However, the solution brings up its own set of problems, and questions about potential overmedication or medication-based abuse. In 2012, the Boston Globe reported that 25% of patients in nursing homes were prescribed anti-psychotic medications, when they did not have a condition appropriate for the medication’s use. The staff were simply trying to control unwanted behaviors related to aggression, hallucinations, and dementia.

The practice is called “Chemical Restraint,” and is considered nursing home or elder abuse. Many elder abuse prevention advocates have called for an end to chemical restraints, as well as less crowded nursing homes and better-trained staff, so the nurses and administrators can handle individuals with better understanding and prevent violent outbursts.

“Now things have changed, and standards have changed, and schools are taking on no-bullying policies. I think the same thing needs to happen in the nursing home context. The goal of this study was to show that this is a very frequent phenomenon — a disturbing and potentially damaging phenomenon for probably everybody in the nursing home setting. We need to begin the search for good solutions,” Pillemer said.

The Strom Law Defends Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect for Long-Term Residents

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be difficult to establish because of a widespread tendency by insurance adjusters, physicians, among others, to discount an elderly person’s injuries and the diminished quality of life that results from these damages.

If your loved one has physically suffered, or died wrongfully, due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may have a nursing home abuse case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of long-term resident elderly abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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