Bullying, or any act of aggression, intimidation or abuse that demonstrates an imbalance of power between one party to another, can cause various forms of emotional, physical and tangible harm. From physical altercations to instances of discriminatory exclusion, bullying creates an unsafe environment and must cease in order to establish security for all persons.
Though commonly associated with more youthful communities, bullying is common among all populations, including seniors. Seniors who reside in nursing homes and care facilities are especially vulnerable to this phenomenon, and its effects can impact more than just an individual’s feelings.
Bullying of residents
Nursing home residents enjoy a host of rights and freedoms while living in the facility. However, when bullying occurs, there are few places in which a victim can retreat to escape the unjust dynamics due to the nature of his or her residency.
Perpetrators can be either fellow residents and staff. Bullying can take the form of:
- Exclusion and ostracism
- Verbal threats
- Physical harm
- Theft or damage to personal property
- Invasion of privacy or personal space
Peer-to-peer bullying is the most common form of aggression and control in nursing homes. Because it happens on the facility’s watch, it is crucial that caretakers intervene.
Manager and staff responsibility
Every nursing home resident deserves to feel safe and comfortable where he or she lives. Nursing home staff maintain a duty to protect senior residents from harm, intimidation, threats and other forms of harassment. If facilities fail to adequately protect each resident from bullying, they may be liable for emotional, physical and financial injuries sustained by the victim.