Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Apr 19, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse
Elderly residents in nursing homes are at risk of several forms of abuse that can cause them serious harm.
However, emotional abuse is often more subtle than physical abuse and may be difficult to identify when it occurs.
If someone you love is residing in a nursing home, there are certain signs that may indicate if emotional abuse is occurring. Contact our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers for more information regarding legal action against abusive staff members or caregivers.
What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, refers to a harmful action that causes a victim to feel intimidated, fearful, anxious or depressed. The aggressor often has a position of power over the victim and uses it to his or her advantage.
It can be carried out both verbally and physically, and may be committed against nursing home residents by caregivers, staff members or other residents.
Emotional abuse can make nursing home residents feel isolated and helpless, and may be inflicted upon victims at the same time as other forms of abuse.
Types of Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents are often susceptible to psychological abuse due to the dependence they have on staff members and caregivers who tend to their daily needs.
This form of abuse can have a serious effect on nursing home residents, who may experience harmful actions such as:
- Isolation from others
- Exclusion from activities
- Threats and intimidation
- Being ignored
- Being mocked
Psychological abuse is traumatizing to a victim, who may have difficulty trusting others or speaking out against his or her abuser.
Who Is At Risk?
While all nursing home residents are susceptible to emotional abuse, there are some who may be at a higher risk than others. These include:
- Residents age 75 and above
- Those with memory issues who may have trouble recounting the instances of abuse
- Seniors who have problems interacting with others
- Residents suffering from serious long-term conditions like dementia or paralysis
You should consistently check on a loved one who resides in a nursing home to ensure he or she is receiving the quality of care he or she deserves.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Elder abuse often causes a victim to deviate from his or her normal behavior and act in an uncharacteristic manner.
A victim of abuse can become hostile and distrusting of loved ones or become depressed and withdrawn because of the trauma he or she has suffered.
Psychological abuse directed against nursing home residents can be especially dangerous because the victim may not be able to speak out against the aggressor.
If is often left to family members and loved ones who are familiar with the victim’s personality to identify signs of abuse.
Signs of emotional abuse may include:
- Refusing to interact with others
- Sudden or random aggression
- Nervousness or anxiousness
- Unusual behaviors such as mumbling, sucking or making repetitive motions
If your loved one has suddenly and unexpectedly changed his or her behavior while residing in a nursing home, you should carefully observe his or her environment.
Signs of overbearing staff members or residents may indicate that your loved one is suffering from psychological abuse.
Reporting Emotional Nursing Home Abuse
The effect emotional abuse has on victims is serious and may cause long-term trauma that is difficult to overcome.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, you should immediately remove him or her from the nursing home.
Nursing home staff members are expected to care for residents and protect them from any form of danger, including abuse.
If a staff member misuses his or her position of power to abuse patients, or allows a dangerous environment to exist in a nursing home, he or she should be reported.
In Wisconsin, reports of nursing home abuse are handled by the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), which oversees all nursing home and assisted living facilities within the state.
You can report an abusive caregiver or staff member online by filing a complaint with the DQA. If you would like to file a complaint in person, you can visit your local DQA office.
If you suspect your loved one is in immediate danger from an abusive staff member, caregiver or resident, you should immediately contact the police.
Legal Help for Victims of Emotional Nursing Home Abuse
Elderly residents of nursing homes depend on staff members and caregivers to provide for and assist them with the most basic needs.
Nursing homes and staff members who misuse this position of trust to psychologically abuse residents should be held liable for the damage caused to victims.
At PKSD, we strongly advocate the rights of nursing home residents and are committed to helping those who have become victims of abuse.
Contact us today for a free consultation to review your abuse claim and determine if legal action can be taken against the aggressor.
Our initial consultation comes with no obligation of hiring our firm, and we only work on a contingency fee basis. This means all of our legal services are provided at no upfront cost and we only require payment if we recover damages for your claim.
Call 877-877-2228 to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.