The Dangers of Emotional Abuse at Nursing Homes

Pinellas County nursing home abuse attorneyEmotional abuse at nursing homes comes in many forms and might not be readily discernible through physical injuries. But as any Pinellas County nursing home abuse attorney can tell you, prolonged mental abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. To protect your loved ones from any abuse, consult with an attorney at the first sign of trouble.

A Pinellas County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Defines Emotional Nursing Home Abuse

Emotional abuse, also referred to as “psychological abuse,” is an intentional act which inflicts mental suffering on another person. Common examples of emotional abuse include making threats or verbal harassment. This type of abuse is not always apparent in nursing home for several reasons.

1. Emotional abuse does not produce the kinds of visible signs or injuries that result from physical abuse.

2. The victims may not report the abuse because they were threatened. The staff may have threatened them openly or implied a threat.

Despite not leaving any visible injuries, emotional abuse can harm elderly residents as much as physical abuse and should be treated just as seriously. You can take preventative measures by learning about the various warning signs.

A Pinellas County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Discusses the Different Types of Emotional Abuse

Although emotional abuse may sound simplistic, it comes in many different, sometimes subtle forms. Some examples include:

  • Threatening the elderly resident.
  • Yelling or screaming.
  • Making insulting statements or taunts.
  • Disparaging or humiliating the victim.

Not all emotional abuse will involve audible verbal abuse. If a staff purposely ignores or isolates an elderly patient to hurt them, they have committed emotional abuse, which is more than simple neglect.

Why Emotional Abuse Occurs in Nursing Homes

It’s rare for nursing home staff to torment residents purely for sport. Most cases of emotional abuse happen when ordinary employees become overstressed and vent their anger at the nursing home residents. Many of them are overworked, poorly compensated and are not properly trained for the job.

Nursing home workers are especially frustrated by the residents’ struggle to control their bodily functions. While inadvertent bed wetting is not uncommon for the elderly, some workers believe the residents do so in order to antagonize them.

But even if the residents do something to provoke a reaction, there is no justification for emotional abuse. Nursing home workers must be disciplined when dealing with irritable or uncooperative residents and follow the protocols set in place to address bad behavior.

Most employees are excellent workers who can adjust to difficult situations, but some will threaten physical violence when the seniors repeatedly soil their sheets. They may even jest about the situation in front of other residents. They will often rationalize their abuse as a fitting punishment for the resident’s misconduct. But needless to say, there is no scenario in which emotional abuse can be an appropriate response to a resident’s “bad” behavior.

Call an Attorney if You Suspect Abuse

If you believe your loved one at a nursing home has been abused or neglected, please call the law offices of Peter Giroux at (727) 895-5399 to discuss possible legal action. Our experienced Pinellas County nursing home abuse attorney will take immediate action to stop the abuse and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome. The initial consultation is free.

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