Review Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 8, P1678-1691.e6, August 2021

Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment in Residential Aged Care Services: A Systematic Review of Event Frequency, Type, Resident Characteristics, and History



      Resident-to-resident elder mistreatment (R-REM) between residents living in residential aged care (RAC) services is a challenging issue in relation to the care of older people. Evidence suggests that R-REM, such as verbal, physical, and sexual conflict between residents, is a common and pervasive issue. This review examines the frequency with which R-REM occurs in RAC services; identifies the types of R-REM that occur; and provides an overview of the reported characteristics of both the victim and perpetrator involved in the R-REM event.


      A systematic review was conducted. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Ageline, and Cochrane Library to identify qualitative and quantitative studies published in the English language.

      Setting and Participants

      Residents living in RAC services.


      Data on frequency and characteristics were collated, and aggregate proportions were calculated where possible.


      Twenty-six studies were identified; most (n = 20) were published in the United States. The overall proportion of residents engaged in R-REM was provided by 7 quantitative studies with the estimated frequency reported to be 12% to 23%. For qualitative studies, the number of care staff reporting to have observed R-REM ranged from 18.7% to 98.0%. Physical and verbal abuse were the most commonly reported types of mistreatment. Characteristics of the perpetrator of R-REM were reported in 12 (46.2%) studies. Overall, the mean age of perpetrators was 80.93 years, most were men (83.2%), and 64.4% had dementia and/or Alzheimer diagnosis. Characteristics of the victim and the history of R-REM were largely omitted from the published studies.

      Conclusion and Implications

      The findings from the review broaden understanding on the extent of R-REM; the individual and event characteristics and ultimately support care planning, policy, and direction for future research. To improve understanding, quality of care, and RAC residents’ well-being, further studies are recommended to address the identified gaps in knowledge.


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