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Signs and Risks of Psychological Abuse in Nursing Homes

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Sep 11, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes are charged with caring for elderly patients when their families are not able to. However, when a nursing home fails to protect its residents due to negligence or an abusive staff member, it may be held liable for the victim's injures.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including psychological abuse. Identifying psychological abuse your loved one may be suffering can be very difficult, unless you know the warning signs and risk factors.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our qualified Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys to discuss you case and learn more about the legal help available to you. If you have a valid claim, we can take the necessary action to secure the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.   

What is Psychological Abuse?

Psychological abuse is the intentional act of inflicting emotional harm through intimidation, fear or guilt, forcing victims to feel powerless and otherwise worthless. This type of abuse happens over time and involves caregivers, physicians, or staff members continually degrading and threatening elderly patients.

The primary purpose of psychological abuse is to exert power over the powerless, which can result in residents suffering from psychological conditions such as trauma, anxiety and depression.

Types of Elder Psychological Abuse

Incidents of elderly abuse can happen in isolated cases or in great frequency, normally alongside physical abuse. Various forms of psychological abuse include:

  • Mocking residents who make sounds, have uncontrollable shaking, or other physical abnormalities
  • Isolating residents from communicating or interacting with other residents
  • Ignoring a resident’s basic needs or requests for no reason
  • Threatening to withhold food or water or placing necessary items out of reach
  • Removing or excluding residents from participating in social activities they enjoy 

Depending on others for care often leaves elderly patients who are unable to protect themselves vulnerable to psychological abuse. 

Signs of Psychological Abuse in Nursing Homes

Identifying elderly patients suffering from psychological abuse is critical. Victims may be afraid or unable to report nursing home abuse or tell their loved ones. Signs of psychological abuse may include:

  • Physical or emotional withdrawal from family and friends
  • Unexplained and sudden behavioral changes
  • Weight loss often caused by malnourishment or dehydration
  • Acting fidgety, biting, rocking or pacing are often signs of dementia in patients
  • Sudden or unexpected aggression, agitation or anxiousness  

Any noticeable signs of a nursing home resident being fearful or intimidated by caregivers or other staff may indicate a psychologically abusive situation and should be grounds for concern and an immediate investigation.

Risk Factors for Psychological Abuse

Nursing home understaffing is a dangerous problem, and overworked staff may lash out against those placed in their care. The following risk factors can make certain elderly residents a target for psychological abuse, including:

  • Anyone with dementia at any stage (early onset), Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
  • Anyone over the age of 75
  • Anyone with short-term memory loss or similar non-dementia memory problems
  • Anyone withdrawn from society prior to entering long-term care

Elderly residents with little to no family support can add another degree of difficulty in stopping abuse. If you are visiting your loved one and notice any unusual activity or behavior during your visit, be sure to report it, as you could potentially save a life.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If your loved one has suffered psychological abuse and if you are not satisfied with the response received from the nursing home or administrative staff, it may be in your best interest to contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. We have years of experience helping injured victims obtain the justice and compensation they are entitled.

At Phillips Law Group, we can review your case and determine if any legal action may be taken against the nursing home during a risk-free, no obligation legal consultation. We work on contingency which means there are no upfront costs or fees for our services. You only pay us if we help you recover favorable compensation.   

Call us now at 1-800-706-3000 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form.

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