Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Emotional Abuse By Lynn Harris on December 29, 2016

Gavel and scales of justiceOne in three seniors in nursing homes report abuse. Nursing home abuse is a common occurrence, unfortunately. While physical abuse is often the most obvious form of nursing home abuse, psychological or emotional abuse is the most common. Attorney Lynn C. Harris has extensive experience assisting clients in not only identifying nursing home abuse and emotional abuse in the Salt Lake City, UT area, but also in filing suit against the abusive and negligent parties.

Forms of Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse is either verbal or non-verbal. If you happen to hear comments by the abuser, verbal abuse is easier to detect. In most cases, emotional abuse is intentional. Under limited circumstances, the abuse may be unintentional, such as if a nursing home is severely understaffed.

Verbal Abuse

Examples of verbal abuse include:

  • Screaming, yelling, or shouting at the patient
  • Threatening to inflict physical harm
  • Intimidating the patient
  • Insulting, ridiculing, or otherwise humiliating the patient
  • Talking down to the patient as if he or she were a child
  • Publicly humiliating the patient
  • Causing feelings of guilt in the patient or withdrawing affection

Non-verbal Abuse

Examples of non-verbal abuse include:

  • Ignoring the patient or giving him or her the “silent treatment”
  • Pretending to physically harm the patient
  • Isolating the patient from other patients, staff, and even friends or family
  • Forbidding the patient from venturing outside or speaking with others
  • Limiting the patient’s access to necessities such as food, water, or the bathroom
  • Stealing personal items from the patient

Signs of Emotional Abuse

There are several signs to watch out for that might indicate your loved one is suffering emotional abuse. Some are signs your loved one may show. Others are signs you may pick up on from the nursing home staff. Your loved one may be emotionally abused if he or she:

  • Has lowered self-esteem
  • Avoids eye contact with you and others
  • Has become more withdrawn and depressed
  • Shows signs of aggression or irritability
  • Eats or sleeps less or more than usual
  • No longer participates in activities
  • Has let go of basic hygiene, or these basic provisions are not provided

The nursing home staff may also give you clues that your loved one is being abused. These may include:

  • Refusing to let you see or speak with your loved one alone
  • Isolating your loved one from others for suspicious reasons
  • Disregarding your loved one’s basic care
  • Denying or lying about the cause of behavioral changes or injuries
  • Treating and speaking to your loved one as if he or she were a child

Effects of Emotional Abuse on the Victim

Emotional abuse can have a serious impact on the victim. He or she may suffer extreme weight loss or weight gain, and may suffer from depression or anxiety. They may also suffer from insomnia or other erratic behaviors such as rocking or biting. He or she may become incapable of making decisions and may live in fear of their abuser(s).

Take Action Today

If you suspect your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, take action immediately. Contact attorney Lynn C. Harris for a consultation to discuss your next steps.

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Lynn C. Harris

Lynn C. Harris

Lynn Harris is a personal injury attorney dedicated to helping victims rebuild their lives. He does not collect compensation unless you do

He can arrange to meet you at the location nearest you. If you or a loved one has been injured, reach out to our firm online or call (801) 375-9801 today.

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