Risks to Elderly Nursing Home Residents from Mentally Ill Patient Dumping


November 10, 2010

Many elderly nursing home residents suffer serious injuries, even death, as victims of violent assaults committed by much younger mentally ill patients who are increasingly being dumped into nursing homes. In one prominent example, a 77 year old resident in a nursing home was killed when he was struck in the head with a clock radio by his mentally ill roommate who was 30 years his junior.

This is not an isolated incident but a growing problem as the percentage of mentally ill patients that are sharing nursing home facilities with the elderly continues to increase. A report last year indicated a 42% increase in the number of mentally ill patients in nursing homes since 2002.

Elderly residents of nursing homes are amongst society's most fragile individuals. Any person evaluating a nursing home for one's elderly family member should consider the facility's procedures and staff training when it comes to preventing assaults by younger mentally ill patients on elderly residents. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent elderly residents who suffer abuse, neglect or assault in nursing homes throughout the Atlanta area and across the state of Georgia.

The trend of dumping those with serious mental illnesses in nursing homes is a growing crisis. It is estimated that over 125,000 mentally ill patients currently reside in nursing homes with geriatric residents nationally and 3,330 reside in nursing homes in Georgia. A number of factors have contributed to this growing trend including the following:

  • Closure of mental hospitals due to deplorable conditions
  • Declining elderly occupancy because people are living at home until they are older
  • Improvements in psychiatric drugs leading to more outpatient treatment and mental hospital closures
  • Economic incentives built into Medicaid

Younger, stronger residents with schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder are living beside frail senior citizens which sometimes leads to physical or sexual assaults. The problem is compounded because the staff in nursing homes often lack proper training for dealing with those who have mental illnesses with violent tendencies. There is absolutely no government regulation or monitoring of the cohabitation of frail elderly nursing home residents with mentally ill patients. However, there have been numerous accounts of assaults, abuse and even homicides.

If you or someone you love suffers an assault or any form of abuse or neglect in a Georgia nursing home, contact Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law today to see how our Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.