Tackling Resident-to-Resident Aggression in Nursing Homes

June 2, 2023 Insights

senior at nursing home

Resident-to-resident aggression in nursing homes is a growing concern that is receiving increasing attention from healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public. This problem is physical, verbal, or sexual aggression between residents in long-term care facilities. 

Aggression of this kind can impair residents’ health and psychological well-being, social isolation, and general quality of life. 

The following article examines the causes, consequences, and potential solutions among nursing homes.

Causes of Resident-to-Resident Aggression

The issue can be caused by various factors, including cognitive and physical impairments, environmental factors, and staff and resident behaviors. Cognitive impairments such as dementia and delirium can cause confusion, disorientation, and aggressive behavior. 

Physical impairments such as pain, discomfort, and sensory deficits can also cause agitation and aggression. Environmental factors such as overcrowding, lack of privacy, and noise can contribute to stress and aggression.

Staff and resident behaviors can also contribute to the problem. Staff members who are overworked, poorly trained, or have a negative attitude can contribute to a negative environment. 

Residents who are socially isolated, have a history of aggression or are in a state of decline can also contribute to the problem.

Consequences of Resident-to-Resident Aggression

This type of aggression can have serious consequences for all residents involved. The victim may experience physical injuries, emotional trauma, and a decreased quality of life. 

The aggressor may experience guilt, shame, and social isolation. Witnessing it can cause fear, anxiety, and stress for other residents. 

The problem can also lead to a breakdown in the social fabric of the nursing home, decreased staff morale, and increased turnover.

Potential Solutions for Resident-to-Resident Aggression

There are several potential solutions for aggression and abuse in nursing homes. These include staff training, environmental modifications, resident-centered care, and increased socialization and activities.

Staff training is essential for preventing and addressing resident-to-resident aggression. Staff members should be trained in dementia and delirium care, communication skills, conflict resolution, and de-escalation techniques. The staff should be taught to spot the warning indicators and take appropriate action.

Environmental modifications can also help prevent the problem. This includes reducing noise, improving lighting, and increasing privacy. Staff should also ensure that residents are comfortable and have access to meaningful activities.

Resident-centered care is another potential solution. This involves tailoring care to the individual needs of each resident, including their cognitive and physical abilities, interests, and preferences. This approach can reduce stress and aggression and improve quality of life.

Increasing socialization and activities can also help prevent this issue from occurring. Staff should encourage residents to participate in social activities, such as games, music, and art therapy. These activities can reduce social isolation and promote positive social interaction.

Potential Challenges in Tackling Resident-to-Resident Aggression

There are potential challenges that healthcare professionals and policymakers may face. Lack of funding, staffing concerns, and reluctance to change are a few of these obstacles that may arise. 

It requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources, which may be a challenge for some nursing homes. It may be challenging to offer the kind of support and care required to stop this abuse due to a lack of staff.  

Some staff and residents may resist change and be unwilling to adopt new approaches to care.

Importance of Family Involvement

Family involvement is crucial. Insights from family members on the needs and tastes of their loved ones can be very helpful to staff members in understanding their behavior patterns. 

Engaging family members in care planning and decision-making can also improve communication and trust. Family members can also help with socialization and activities, which can reduce social isolation and improve the quality of life for residents. 


We may raise the standard of living for nursing home patients and encourage a safe and happy living space by identifying and managing resident-resident hostility. It is essential for healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public to work collaboratively to tackle the issue and ensure a dignified and respectful living for all residents in nursing homes.

If you’re hurt as a result of nursing home abuse, you can rely on the skilled and award-winning attorneys of Circeo Law Firm to fight fiercely for your rights. We offer a free consultation for your situation and legal alternatives. 

Book a consultation with a top-notch nursing home abuse attorney in Kentucky and get the justice you deserve.