What is nursing home emotional abuse and what are the symptoms?



There are many different types of elder abuse that can take place in a nursing home environment. One of the most talked about may be physical abuse, but emotional abuse takes place as well. Emotional abuse, sometimes called psychological or mental abuse, includes verbal abuse, intentional humiliation, ignoring elders, isolation, and threatening or terrorizing behavior.

Although it may not be immediately obvious, emotional abuse results in mental anguish and suffering, which can have detrimental and long-term effects.

Nursing Home Emotional Abuse: What to look for:

In many cases, emotional abuse causes low self esteem in nursing home residents. Residents may become hesitant to do the simplest things, such as eating or drinking, in fear of being threatened or punished by a caregiver. In an effort to cover their tracks, some nursing home staff may not allow unsupervised visitation. This lowers the likelihood that the resident will report the abuse.

Although emotional abuse may be tougher to recognize, there are some things to look out for when visiting or speaking with a resident in a nursing home. Common symptoms a resident may have as a victim of emotional abuse include: being noticeably withdrawn or quiet, displaying out of the ordinary characteristics, unexplained distress, changes in eating habits, and any kind of complaint from the resident mentioning any type of emotional abuse. Unfortunately, some residents may not feel comfortable reporting any type of abuse from caregivers. That is a result of the caregiver threatening the resident on multiple occasions.

Causes of emotional abuse involve lack of training, failure to run proper background checks on employees, understaffed facilities, and inadequate supervision from management. While it is not an excuse, caregivers are exposed to a large amount of stress caring for elders.  

If your loved one has been emotionally abused or neglected at a Georgia nursing home, and you are unsure about what to do next, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced nursing home lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.