Emotional Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Senior woman sitting on a sofa alone

When we think of nursing home abuse, we often think of negligence or physical abuse. Common injuries that result from physical nursing home abuse include bruises and broken bones as a result of falls, malnutrition or dehydration, and bedsores. But emotional abuse of elderly nursing home residents can be just as severe and cause just as much damage, even though it may be harder to identify.

To prevent emotional abuse in nursing homes, you need to understand the different forms it can take and recognize the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse in nursing homes. If you suspect someone you love has been a victim of emotional abuse in a nursing home, it is critical that you speak up. The facility manager may be able to address the situation. But other times you will need to enlist the services of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.

What Is Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home?

Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, occurs when a caregiver, volunteer, staff member, or another resident causes psychological damage to a nursing home resident. Common forms of mental abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Humiliating, blaming, or demeaning the resident
  • Using the resident as a scapegoat
  • Intimidating the resident
  • Threatening or yelling at the resident
  • Isolating the resident from social activities
  • Ignoring the resident
  • Terrorizing or behaving menacingly towards the resident

Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes Is All-Too-Common

Unfortunately, mental abuse in nursing homes is all-too-common. Nationally, there are approximately 435,000 reports of emotional abuse against the elderly every year. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 there were 16,241 reports of abuse of people aged 60 and older in Ohio. Of those, 1,234 were reports of emotional abuse.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Psychological Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home residents are vulnerable to mental abuse and can easily be manipulated into remaining silent and not discussing emotional abuse. As a result, it is critically important that family members remain vigilant and be on the lookout for signs of mental abuse in nursing homes.

Common signs and symptoms of psychological abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Depression and withdrawal
  • Low self esteem
  • Appearing disturbed, scared, or hopeless
  • Shyness
  • Avoiding eye contact with certain caregivers
  • Self-harm
  • Harming others
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

What Can I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home?

If you suspect someone you love is the victim of emotional or psychological abuse in a nursing home, report the suspected abuse to the facility manager. You can also report the abuse to Adult Protective Services and the Ohio Attorney General, and file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health.

You should also contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your options and for assistance protecting your loved one from future abuse.

Can I Sue for Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home?

If you or someone you love has been the victim of mental abuse in a nursing home, an experienced Ohio nursing home abuse attorney can help.

At Robenalt Law, our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers can help you determine what type of recourse you might have against a nursing home, its employees, or medical staff. While we recognize that no amount of money can make up for the trauma of psychological abuse in a nursing home, compensation can help pay for bills associated with treatment that was required as a result of mental abuse, the cost of relocating a loved one to a new facility, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.

If you believe that someone you love is the victim of elder abuse in a nursing home, a lawyer can advise you about your rights and help you take steps to protect your loved one from future abuse.

Robenalt Law—Justice for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Robenalt Law today. We handle cases of nursing home abuse on a contingency fee, which means we don’t get paid unless we recover money for you.

Learn more about our team, our nursing home abuse practice, and why clients choose us. Then contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing nursing homes at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.

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