Abuse of others, especially in institutions, has received increasing attention in recent years, largely due to the efforts of patients' rights advocates. In 1989, the results of a survey of nursing home staff were published, revealing statistics which strongly support the conclusion that patient abuse is a pervasive and recurrent problem.1 In this study, 36% of the health care staff interviewed had seen at least one incident of physical abuse in the preceding year, most often excessive physical restraint. More than two-thirds of those witnessing excessive physical restraint saw it on multiple occasions. The second most frequent type of abuse observed was pushing, grabbing, shoving or pinching a patient. A total of 81% had observed at least one incident of psychological abuse in the preceding year, most often yelling. Half of the respondents had observed a staff member insult or swear at a patient. Forty percent admitted to committing at least one act of psychological abuse themselves, and one in 10 reported insulting or swearing at a patient. The study concluded that abuse is sufficiently extensive to merit public concern.