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How does emotional abuse in nursing homes happen?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse

As people age and lose their independence, they become extremely vulnerable – completely reliant on other people like caregivers for pretty much all their needs. Unfortunately, abuse at the hands of nursing home staff is not uncommon.

One of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes is emotional abuse. But how exactly does this happen?

Understanding emotional abuse in nursing homes

Basically, emotional abuse happens when someone in the nursing home (like a caregiver) uses a verbal or non-verbal action to inflict distress, pain or anguish on a resident. It can also involve a caregiver intentionally manipulating, mocking, intimidating or humiliating the resident.

Caretaker actions that amount to emotional abuse

Emotional abuse in nursing homes can happen in a variety of ways. Here are common examples:

  • Yelling or screaming at the resident
  • Issuing threatening statements
  • Overlooking the resident’s needs and concerns
  • Humiliating or mocking the resident in the presence of others.
  • Isolating or menacing the resident.

These forms of abuse can leave the victim with significant psychological trauma or even PTSD.

Knowing the signs of emotional abuse in a nursing home

Often, emotional abuse and physical abuse go hand in hand. If your loved one has signs of physical abuse, chances are they may have been emotionally abused as well. Here are behaviors that could be indicative of emotional abuse:

  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Timidity
  • Withdrawal
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits.

Some of the physical issues that may relate to emotional abuse include refusing to eat or drink, lethargy and weight loss. Increased health problems like hypertension and gastrointestinal upset could also indicate emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse in the nursing home can cause serious damage to the victim. Given the caregivers owe a duty of care to residents, you can take action and pursue damages if a loved one is subjected to emotional abuse in a nursing home.