Of the types of mistreatment that occur in nursing homes, emotional abuse is the most difficult to identify. Emotional mistreatment of nursing home residents generally leaves no physical marks behind. However, the psychological scars of such conduct can last for years and dramatically impact a victim’s overall quality of life.
That said, it is crucial to take immediate and effective legal action against emotional and mental abuse in San Diego nursing homes. By working with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer, you can proactively protect your family member’s interests while also holding the wrongdoers financially liable for their actions.
Verbal Versus Nonverbal Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse in San Diego nursing homes can be verbal or non-verbal. Either form of abuse can result in long-lasting psychological trauma.
Verbal Mistreatment of Nursing Home Residents
Any staff member who repeatedly shouts at, threatens, humiliates, or ridicules a nursing home resident has engaged in verbal abuse. However, verbal abuse can sometimes be less overt—for example, failing to take a resident’s concerns seriously, talking badly about them in a place where they can overhear, and being unnecessarily callous about or quick to blame a resident for personal struggles.
Nonverbal Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, nonverbal emotional abuse can be even more subtle and challenging to identify. Some common forms of nonverbal mental abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities include the following:
- Limiting a resident’s access to water, food, or restroom facilities
- Preventing a resident from engaging socially with visitors or other residents and/or from spending time outdoors
- Ignoring requests from a resident for assistance
- Intimidating a resident through silent but threatening expressions
- Moving assistive equipment like a wheelchair or walker out of a resident’s reach
- Infantilizing a resident or otherwise not treating them like an adult
- Hiding a resident’s personal property with the intent of causing undue stress
A dedicated San Diego attorney can help a family take action against emotional abuse or other violations of a nursing home resident’s rights.
Symptoms Associated with Nursing Home Mental Abuse
The impact of emotional and mental abuse on a nursing home resident’s mental health can vary from person to person, which makes it difficult to conclusively identify instances of abuse. That said, some common effects of this kind of abuse can include:
- Lack of personal hygiene and/or refusal to take medications
- Depression, anxiety, and/or suicidal ideation
- Lack of self-esteem and confidence
- Nervousness or mood changes around particular staff members or residents
- Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Withdrawal from or sudden loss of interest in hobbies and social activities
- Repetitive anxious behaviors like thumb-sucking, rocking, or nail-biting
It is essential to look out for warning signs that staff members in a nursing home may be engaging in emotional or mental abuse of residents. For example, anyone who notices a staff member’s defensiveness or evasiveness when asked questions, lack of concern about residents, or refusal to let family members speak with residents alone should seek legal counsel.
A San Diego Attorney Can Help Address Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home
No form of abuse or neglect should be tolerated in a nursing home, especially mistreatment that targets a resident’s mental and psychological health. If you believe a family member has sustained emotional and mental abuse in a San Diego nursing home, you should act quickly and decisively to address the issue.
Assistance from a capable nursing home abuse lawyer can be vital to protecting your loved ones effectively. Call our firm today for a consultation.