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elderly man and doctor Nursing Home Attorney As fearful as you may be that your loved one may become a victim of physical abuse in a nursing home, a nursing home attorney warns that a more insidious danger may be posed by emotional abuse by a nursing home caretaker, volunteer or other worker. A victim of emotional abuse may not show the telltale signs of physical abuse, but the harm can be just as severe or worse.

The Nature of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse includes a wide range of behavior; it can be verbal or nonverbal. It can be as overt as screaming or yelling at an elderly resident or may encompass regular berating or humiliating of the individual in front of others. Other forms of abuse a nursing home attorney reports include isolating a nursing home resident from socialization with fellow residents, friends or family and depriving the individual of needed care.

Why Emotional Abuse Is So Prevalent

Perhaps more common than physical abuse, emotional abuse is seldom caused by a worker who is intentionally trying to harm a resident. Although an experienced nursing home attorney will unfortunately see this type of incident on occasion, it is much more typical that the abuser is a person who is ill prepared to handle the duties of his or her job. The worker may not have the proper education or metal capacity for the job, may not have received the proper training or there may simply too many residents for the number of workers in the facility. Too often, all three coincide to create a real danger for the home’s elderly residents.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Sadly, many victims do not report the abuse they endure. There can be many reasons for this, but among the most common are fear of reprisal, shame, low self-worth and a general feeling of helplessness and resignation. Of course, many residents have lost the ability to communicate and are unable to tell of the abuse. You, therefore, are often the only advocate your loved one has. Look for signs such as:

  • Withdrawal
  • Failure to make eye contact
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Anxiety when a certain person is present
  • Depression

Contact a Nursing Home Attorney for Legal Advice

A nursing home resident has the right to a clean, safe and supportive environment. Be certain your loved one is protected. For any concerns, call Peter Giroux, a nursing home attorney from Giroux & Associates, Inc., at (727) 895-5399.