Understanding Psychological and Emotional Abuse

September 24, 2015

It can be difficult to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home. When individuals place their loved ones in a nursing home, they want to be assured of the elder’s safety. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of safety when it comes to nursing homes, and some residents may be at risk of abuse. Nursing home abuse, however, is not just limited to the traditional forms of abuse, such as physical abuse or neglect. Nursing home abuse can extend to include psychological and emotional abuse, which can have long-term effects on victims.

What Constitutes Psychological and Emotional Abuse?

While there are many types of abuse, emotional abuse is a form of abuse that can be one of the hardest to detect. This is because emotional abuse can affect a nursing home resident’s happiness, health, and welfare without leaving any physical scars or signs of abuse. Typically, emotional or psychological abuse is identified as the infliction of pain or anguish through verbal or nonverbal acts. These acts can include, but are not limited to:

  • verbal assaults;
  • insults;
  • threats;
  • humiliation;
  • intimidation;
  • harassment;
  • emotional manipulation; and
  • isolation.

Unfortunately, while it is part of a caretaker’s duty to ensure that residents obtain the best care possible, which includes providing them with positive interaction, a number of nursing home staff may resort to emotional abuse for a wide variety of reasons. While some may use verbal abuse simply because they are fatigued from a long day of work, others may make use of verbal assaults or humiliation in order to get residents to perform tasks more quickly. Other staff may even use emotional abuse in order to benefit themselves, coercing and cajoling residents into avoiding actions that might create more work for the staff, such as requesting to be turned over in bed or to be taken to the bathroom. In fact, the emotional and psychological abuse may have even more impact upon residents of nursing homes since residents are typically unable to fully care for themselves.

Signs of Psychological and Emotional Abuse

While psychological and emotional abuse may leave no physical trace on the resident, there are plenty of signs that individuals may notice when speaking with or visiting a loved one in a nursing home. Not only does emotional abuse harm a resident’s self-worth, but it can also negatively impair a resident’s psychological well-being. There are several types of signs that may indicate emotional and psychological abuse which can range from personal ticks to changes in the resident’s interactions with staff and family. Some signs to look out for include, but are not limited to:

  • low self-esteem;
  • avoidance of eye contact;
  • depression;
  • physical or emotional withdrawal;
  • lack of participation;
  • strained relationships with staff or other residents;
  • agitation; and
  • anxiety.

Contact an Attorney

Even though it can be tough to deal with incidents of abuse, you are not without recourse. Working with an experienced attorney can help you better understand any claims you may have resulting from your or a loved one’s time in a nursing home. Contact the David Aylor Law Offices today in order to speak with a dedicated, experienced attorney in Charleston, North Charleston, or Walterboro.

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