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A recent study found nursing home abuse among residents is becoming increasingly more violent – both physically and verbally – on a more frequent basis, than earlier studies indicated, according to researchers at Cornell University.

“Because of the very nature of nursing home life, it is impossible to eliminate the abusive behaviors entirely, but we need better scientific evidence about what works to prevent this problem,” said Karl Pillemer, director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging at the College of Human Ecology.

The study, led by Pillemer and Mark S. Lachs, professor of medicine, at a large city nursing home, found over 30 different types of physical and verbal abuse commonly occurred between residents. At the top of the list was screaming, followed by pushing, punching and fighting.

In a separate two-week study, researchers found that 2.4% of residents said they were on the receiving end of physical aggression while 7.3% said they had been involved in a verbal altercation.

Researchers need to perform more studies to discover risk factors and preventive measures. The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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