Also known as mental or psychological abuse, emotional abuse is the intentional infliction of fear, degradation or anguish on another person through verbal or non-verbal acts. Although nursing home residents have the right to be free from emotional abuse, many overworked staff members violate these basic rights on a daily basis.
If your loved one is a victim of emotional nursing home abuse, fill out our free case evaluation form today to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney today.
Emotional abuse in nursing homes can occur in a variety of ways, including:
Verbal Degradation: While many nursing home staff members offer kind words to residents, other employees subject them to verbal degradation. Examples of verbal degradation including yelling or screaming at the resident. For instance, if a resident is not eating quickly enough, a staff member may yell at them to hurry up. Staff members can also emotionally abuse nursing home residents by making sarcastic remarks or insults about the resident's inability to control bodily functions.
Verbal Threats: A more severe form of verbal degradation, verbal threats intimidate nursing home residents into acting a certain way. For instance, a verbal threat occurs when a staff member tells a resident they will be hit if they wet their bed or eat too sloppily. Verbal threats can also occur when a staff member tells a resident they will not be fed if they don't eat properly or finish their entire meal.
Emotional Manipulation: Many nursing home residents may feel insecure because they must rely on other people for everyday activities such as dressing and using the bathroom. In many cases, this insecurity can lead to low self-esteem. If a nursing home resident has lower self-esteem, they become a target for emotional manipulation. This form of emotional nursing home abuse occurs when a staff member deceitfully influences a resident for their own advantage. For instance, nursing home residents may be manipulated into overlooking forms of nursing home abuse for fear they will not be fed, bathed or groomed. In addition, nursing home residents can be manipulated into acting in ways that don't create "difficulties" for the employee, but may be harmful to the resident themselves. For instance, a nursing home resident may be afraid to ask for a glass of water or snack for fear they will be reprimanded or hit. As a result, the resident may become dehydrated or malnourished.
Emotional Threats: This form of emotional abuse in nursing homes occurs when a resident is threatened into keeping quiet. For instance, a nursing home resident sees a staff member abusing another resident. When the employee notices that the other resident has become aware of the abuse, he or she raises a hand to signal that they may become the next victim of nursing home abuse if they speak out. Because many residents are threatened into keeping quiet, many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported.
Isolation: A common form of emotional abuse in nursing homes, isolation occurs when a resident is given the silent treatment, or placed away from family, friends and social activities.
The warning signs of emotional abuse in nursing homes are not as apparent as other forms of abuse. Still, the ramifications of mental abuse can lead to a decline in happiness and even health. It is important to recognize the signs of emotional nursing home abuse, such as:
In many cases, a resident may be afraid to tell loved ones about emotional abuse. The resident may have been intimidated into silence or may feel like a burden to family members. Make sure you look out for signs of emotional nursing home abuse in your loved one, or the abuse is likely to continue.
If your loved one is a victim of emotional nursing home abuse, the facility can be held liable in court. Contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today to find out how you can recover compensation and put an end to the abuse.
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