Failure to Protect reported on another fatal resident to resident altercation. Aggression is well known symptom of mid-to-late-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The lack of staffing causes unsafe environments with insufficient supervision leading to predictable fights. A 2019 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that abuse citations at nursing homes doubled from 2013-2017. The majority involve physical and mental or verbal abuse.

Richard Mollot is the executive director of Long Term Care Community Coalition, a non-profit group that advocates for nursing home residents. He commented”

Resident-on-resident altercations in nursing homes “are a pretty widespread problem. It is a serious issue that results, generally speaking, when a facility lacks sufficient staff with the appropriate competencies to meet residents’ needs.”

In this most recent incident, Clara Sutowski was walking down the hallway of the Memory Care unit. A male resident knocked her to the floor then beat her face and head. She died three days later at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick from the blunt force trauma. The Medical Examiner’s report ruled her tragic death as a homicide.

Her family believes the fatal attack was preventable with proper supervision. The staff knew the assailant was dangerous. Facilities must assess, care plan, supervise, and intervene before an altercation occurs. Nursing homes must train caregivers to manage behavior and protect the vulnerable residents.