Emotional abuse is often inflicted on nursing home residents. It might consist of any verbal or non-verbal act or failure to act that causes emotional harm to a resident. Both staff and other nursing home residents can be guilty of emotional abuse. This type of abuse is dangerous because it can lead to low self esteem and harm a resident’s psychological and physical well-being.
How Can a Nursing Home Resident Be Emotionally Abused?
Emotional abuse is more difficult to discern than actual physical abuse. There are no bruises, abrasions, dental injuries or fractures. Instead, there are invisible injuries like apprehension and fear along with feelings of intimidation and helplessness. Verbal forms of nursing home emotional abuse might consist of threats or ridicule, or a staff member raising their voice with the resident or shaming him or her. Non-verbal emotional abuse might consist of ignoring or temporarily abandoning a resident, excluding him or her from activities or keeping them from friends or family.
Signs That Might Show Nursing Home Emotional Abuse
Eventually, sustained emotional nursing home abuse is likely to manifest itself into behavior patterns by the victim that become disturbing. Although most victims will appear as frightened and withdrawn, some others might become verbally and physically agitated and aggressive. Here are a few signs of possible nursing home emotional abuse:
- A resident being prevented from making his or her own rational decisions.
- Not speaking openly.
- Withdrawal and unwilling to participate in conversation or activities with others.
- Low self-esteem.
- Avoiding eye contact when speaking with visitors or others.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Sudden mood changes with unpredictable personality characteristics.
- Seemingly unwarranted fear or apprehension.
- Not wanting visitors.
- Loss of appetite with rapid weight loss.
Dealing With the Emotional Abuse of a Loved One
If your friend or loved one is suffering from persistent and sustained emotional abuse at a nursing home, and it isn’t stopped right away, that might be cause to move him or her to a different facility. It’s also cause to notify the Kentucky Office of Adult Protection Services at 800-753-6200. This agency has been granted the authority to investigate allegations of nursing home abuse by the state legislature.
The experienced and sympathetic Lexington nursing home lawyers at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC can also help you stop the abuse before it gets worse. We might also be of help to you or your loved one by pursuing compensation for past incidents of nursing home abuse at the facility. You can contact our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation with a Lexington nursing home lawyer who will listen to you carefully, answer your questions and advise you on getting pointed in the right legal direction. If we into a retainer agreement to represent you or your loved one, our objective will be to obtain the highest possible settlement or award deserved. Talk with us right after you talk with Adult Protective Services.