Verbal and Emotional Abuse In Nursing Home Residents

Verbal and emotional abuse may often be disregarded as a less serious issue than physical or sexual abuse. However, especially in the case of nursing home residents, verbal and emotional abuse can be very damaging to a person. Because a nursing home resident depends on the care of others for his or her physical and emotional well-being, abuse in any form is a very serious issue. 

Nursing home residents may feel isolated and at the mercy of other residents and the staff. Because they receive less interaction with the outside world, what happens inside the nursing home is of utmost importance to them. A case of verbal or emotional abuse is not easily brushed off when it occurs inside the nursing home. Many nursing home residents look to the staff and other residents as surrogate family members and even an instance of verbal abuse from a mentally impaired resident may significantly impact your loved one. 

While you cannot control what other residents say to your loved one, you can insist that contact is limited if a particular resident is verbally or emotionally abusing your loved one. If the abuse comes from a staff member, immediate action is necessary to put a stop to the behavior. 

Causes of Verbal and Emotional Abuse in the Nursing Home

  • Verbal and emotional abuse perpetrated by a staff member may result from:
  • Poor staff training on how to deal with behaviors 
  • Caregiver burnout
  • Inadequate staffing
  • Employment of those who prey on the weaknesses of others 

While employment in a caring profession such as nursing is an attractive prospect to those with a genuine desire to help others, it is also an attractant for those who prey on the weaker members of society, such as the elderly or disabled population. Nursing homes should perform criminal background checks and reference checks to help weed out predatory candidates for a position. However, some unhealthy or cruel people still manage to slip past the safeguards put in place to protect nursing home residents. This is why adequate staffing and supervision of all employees is so crucial. If the system fails in one part, other regulations should help uncover verbal and emotional abuse as soon as it occurs. 

What to Do When Verbal or Emotional Abuse Occurs in the Nursing Home 

If your loved one is subjected to verbal abuse or emotional abuse while he or she is a resident of a nursing home, you should first ensure that the abuse is stopped immediately, even if you have to transfer your loved one to a different long-term care facility.  Next, you should investigate what measures the nursing home has in place to safeguard against hiring predators. Ask to see facility policy manuals and logs that state that those policies are followed and supervised. In the case of abuse, the nursing home is required to produce evidence that action was taken to safeguard against such behavior and that such interventions were reasonable and performed in a timely manner. If flaws in the nursing home’s policies are present, they may be legally responsible for, in addition to the perpetrator, the effects of verbal or emotional abuse committed against your loved one. 

If you suspect verbal or emotional abuse at a nursing home, call the lawyers at Sweeney Law Firm. In addition to the criminal charges which may be brought against the perpetrators, you and your loved one may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages incurred. The lawyers at Sweeney Law Firm specialize in elder care law and will help ensure that the verbal or emotional abuse does not continue and that your loved one receives adequate care. There is no cost or obligation for us to evaluate your case. The Sweeney Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis. There is never a fee unless a recovery is made for you.