Emotional and Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes
In addition to having their physical needs met and a high-quality standard of living, nursing home residents throughout the United States have a legal right to be free from psychological abuse. Unfortunately, this type of abuse happens more often than you might expect and can be deceptively hard to identify and take effective action against.
Lawsuits over emotional and mental abuse in nursing homes can be challenging on both legal and emotional levels, especially if the harm has been happening for a long time. Support from a capable nursing home abuse attorney could be vital to protecting your family’s safety and best interests proactively and effectively.
Verbal Versus Nonverbal Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse generally falls into one of two categories: verbal and nonverbal. The distinguishing factor between the two categories is whether the abuse involves someone speaking harshly to or about a nursing home resident or whether it involves more subtle and indirect behaviors.
Verbal emotional abuse in a nursing home can often go far beyond obviously aggressive actions like shouting instructions at a resident, threatening him or her physically, or criticizing him or her for not following instructions or performing certain tasks. It can also look like a staff member humiliating a resident to his or her face or behind his or her back, ignoring concerns and complaints, accusing him or her of misconduct without cause, or insulting him or her.
Nonverbal emotional abuse can involve a variety of behaviors, including:
A compassionate attorney could go into more detail during a private consultation about what emotional and mental abuse might look like inside a nursing home.
Identifying Emotional and Mental Abuse
Unlike physical abuse, emotional and mental abuse inside nursing homes does not leave any physical injuries or marks behind, making it extremely difficult for family members to notice. However, any sudden changes in a resident’s personality or mood—especially if they seem to happen mainly around a particular staff member—may be signs that this kind of harm is occurring.
Other residents may respond to mental abuse by withdrawing from hobbies and social activities, refusing to eat or take medications, regressing to repetitive and childlike behavior like nail-biting or thumb-sucking, or expressing self-harm or suicidal ideation. Anyone who suspects an assisted living facility or nursing home is hurting their loved one in this way should speak with legal counsel sooner rather than later to determine what legal action is possible.
An Attorney Could Take Action Over Emotional and Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes
No one deserves to be emotionally neglected or abused under any circumstances, particularly not someone dependent on around-the-clock assistance inside a nursing home or similar facility. If you suspect a family member sustained harm of this nature, it might fall to you to take proactive legal action on his or her behalf.
A capable legal professional could offer guidance and support throughout a case involving emotional and mental abuse in nursing homes. Call today to get started.