Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Jul 22, 2014 by

About 16,000 nursing homes in the US offer care and shelter to more than three million elders, mentally incapacitated young adults and victims of accidents requiring therapy and rehabilitation. Though sending an elder to a nursing home, where their needs can very be provided for, is a common practice, many Americans are beset by worries, due to widespread news of abuses committed to nursing home residents.

The most common reported abuses committed against elders include emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse, which is the most wicked of all types of abuses. Mistreating elders and other residents emotionally can be done through many different ways. It can be through humiliation or scorn, isolation from others, threats or behavior meant to scare a resident, taking no notice or frequent disregard of an elder, or constant blaming and yelling even for the simplest mistakes.

Many nursing homes reason out that they do not have enough number of nurse aides, staff and registered nurses, thus their employees are often overworked, tired and fatigued from all the needs and requests of residents which seem to be endless.

Emotional abuse is usually never immediately obvious, but being really observant of sudden changes in a resident’s behavior may just manifest the fact that something is wrong. Emotionally abused residents typically:

  • Begin to display low self-esteem
  • Avoid having eye contact with other residents
  • Stop speaking openly, to hide the abuses they are suffering from
  • Start feeling hopeless, disturbed, or afraid
  • Become depressed and withdrawn
  • Begin to show abrupt mood swings

While injuries or any kind of harm sustained by residents in a nursing home facility may be considered a personal injury and, thus, deserving compensation, the act of abuse itself is considered a criminal act, deserving harsh punishments.

Listening to an elder or being more observant of them may help expose abusive personnel; the abused resident, most certainly, will never speak out or complain. Often it is the duty of the person in charge of the nursing home or the relatives of the abused to save the resident from further acts of maltreatment.

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