Most elderly residents live in nursing homes because of their inability to care for themselves. The families of older adults often feel conflicted and torn about placing their elderly loved one in a nursing home. However, ultimately most people make this choice in order to ensure that their loved one receives proper care around the clock.
The nursing home staff has a duty and responsibility to keep elderly residents safe, but they may harm the residents through emotional abuse. Emotional abuse of the elderly can leave them with devastating mental and psychological damage. If you suspect that your loved one suffered emotional abuse as a resident of a nursing home, consider a Riverside emotional abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call us to help you with a free case evaluation of your potential to receive compensation for your elderly loved one.
Examples of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse can cause serious psychological and mental distress to elderly persons who remain unable to defend themselves. In most cases, elderly residents of nursing homes have cognitive dysfunction, loss of mobility, or other medical conditions that cause them to be vulnerable. If nursing home employees intentionally cause a resident to suffer mental anguish, they commit emotional abuse. Some examples of emotional abuse of the elderly may include the following:
- Yelling or screaming at a nursing home resident.
- Blaming the elderly resident or making them a scapegoat for some event.
- Demeaning or humiliating the elderly resident either alone or in front of other residents.
- Intentionally ignoring the needs or requests of an elderly resident.
- Threatening physical or sexual abuse toward the victim.
- Behaving in a threatening way such as pretending to hit or slap a resident.
- Intentionally isolating a resident away from other residents, their family, or friends.
Reasons Nursing Home Residents Suffer Abuse
Employees at facilities have no excuse for any nursing home resident to suffer from emotional abuse, although some explanations may explain why nursing home abuse occurs with such frequency in the United States.
The Vulnerability of Nursing Home Residents
Most nursing home residents have frail bodies, challenges with mobility, or cognitive dysfunction disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Residents rely upon the nursing home staff for their basic needs such as food, water, and going to the bathroom. Caregivers have power over a population of completely vulnerable people who have no ability to defend themselves.
Understaffing of Nursing Homes
There is a need for higher minimum staffing standards in U.S. nursing homes, which causes understaffing and high turnover rates, according to Health Service Insights. When nursing home facilities experience these problems, the remaining employees must bear the burden of handling the safety and care of too many residents. In these cases, employees and management of nursing homes can develop frustrations or animosity towards those residents who may have cognitive difficulties understanding what they need them to do. In response, many nursing home employees may lash out in frustration and emotionally harass, demean, humiliate, or threaten elderly residents.
For a free legal consultation with a Emotional Abuse Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse often proves much more difficult to determine. In situations where an elderly resident may have cognitive dysfunction, they may not remember that they even suffered psychological abuse, or why they feel afraid or angry. In light of this, as a loved one of a nursing home resident, you should always watch for these signs and symptoms which may signal emotional abuse:
- Unexplained depression or anxiety.
- Sudden withdrawal from activities, friends, or family.
- Exhibiting actions or feelings of hopelessness, fear, or shyness.
- Avoiding eye contact with anyone.
- Attempting to hurt others or themselves.
- Severe mood swings.
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns that are not attributable to any new medical condition or medication.
- New changes in personality.
- Refusing to eat or drink regularly.
- Having specific negative or fearful reactions to certain members of the nursing home staff.
Changes in personality or behavior is the key to recognizing and understanding elder abuse that may have resulted from psychological abuse in a nursing home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of emotional abuse, a Riverside emotional abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you with your case. Call us for help with your nursing home abuse claim.
Riverside Emotional Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Seek Help for Emotional Abuse
If you feel your elderly loved one suffered from emotional abuse in a nursing home, your first step should be to contact management immediately. The facility should have an established protocol to directly deal with complaints or allegations of either physical abuse or emotional abuse. In addition to filing a complaint with the nursing home directly, you should contact Adult Protective Services to make a confidential report.
If you feel your elderly loved one remains in danger, you may also consider contacting the police. Your elderly loved one deserves better than to live a life of fear and terror in the place they consider their home. Make sure to take any new signs of emotional abuse seriously and take immediate steps to ensure they are safe.
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Let a Riverside Emotional Abuse Lawyer Help
If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffered any kind of emotional abuse as a resident in a nursing home, you may have the legal right to file a claim against the facility. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your next steps.
While compensation will never remove the emotional abuse from your elderly loved one’s memory, they deserve justice, and the persons that inflected the emotional abuse should receive consequences for their actions against a vulnerable elderly resident.