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Verbal and physical aggression common in nursing homes

Aggression between nursing home residents is more common than widely believed, according to research.

Studies conducted by academics from Cornell University in the US, show that 2.4% of residents reported physical aggression from another resident and 7.3% experienced verbal aggression over a two-week period in a large urban nursing home.

In another study, 12 nurse observers identified 30 episodes of resident-to-resident aggression in an eight-hour shift.

Of these, 17 were physical and victims were more likely to be men with behavioural problems like wandering or with a cognitive impairment.

Report author Karl Pillemer, director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Ageing at university’s College of Human Ecology, said: ‘Anyone who spends much time in a nursing home will observe arguments, threats and shouting matches among residents, as well as behaviors like pushing, shoving and hitting.’

Co-author author Mark S Lachs, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, said: At present, staff have few solutions available to them and typical interventions in the nursing home may have negative consequences for aggressive residents, including the use of psychotropic medications or isolation of the resident.’

"We hope our work will help inspire a vigorous search for programs that work to prevent aggression and violence among residents in long-term care."

Readers' comments (1)

  • As a nurse of many years experience, I can tell you that the instanses of both verbal and physical violence is increasing. This is due to in my opinion inapropriate placement of residents and owners that will take any body to fill a bed. I believe in the correct placement of residents in the first place

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