Verbal Abuse in Nursing Homes
Approximately 10% of nursing home residents are victims of neglect or abuse. When it comes to emotional abuse, verbal abuse is one of the most common forms occurring in nursing homes. Patients transitioning to life in a nursing home are often emotionally vulnerable and this type of abuse can be as damaging to a patient’s health as physical abuse.
Types of Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse consists of any comment that is made with the intent of causing emotional pain. It is often considered bullying and is especially harmful when nursing home staff members are responsible for the abuse – as these individuals are in a position of authority. Patients may also suffer verbal abuse at the hands of family members, other patients, and even strangers.
Common examples of verbal nursing home abuse are rude remarks, yelling, mocking, blaming, criticizing, and threatening. As with most forms of abuse, verbal abuse is often the culmination of impatience or frustration with the patient.
Indications of Verbal Abuse
This type of abuse may be more difficult to spot than other forms of abuse, as there are no visible signs. Patients are often afraid to expose those who are abusing them because they fear that their daily needs will be ignored as retaliation. Nevertheless, there are signs to look for if you suspect verbal abuse.
These signs include withdrawing from socialization, mood swings, self-degradation, hesitance to speak and avoidance of eye contact. Occasionally, verbal abuse victims will show evident fear, or will become increasingly angry and aggressive. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, or eating times may also indicate a patient is suffering from verbal abuse.
Effects of Verbal Abuse
Victims of verbal abuse may suffer from lasting psychological damage. Nursing home patients are often emotionally fragile and disoriented when they enter a nursing facility and verbal abuse can increase confusion and discomfort. In extreme instances, verbal abuse can cause stress that weakens the immune system and makes the patient susceptible to stress-related illnesses.
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If it is determined that a patient is the victim of verbal abuse, he or she should be removed from the situation immediately. It may be advisable to provide the patient with emotional counseling to help the patient recover. An attorney may be able to provide guidance when it comes to recovering costs associated with abuse-related services such as counseling and holding the offending parties responsible.
At Shea Law Group, our dedicated team of experienced injury lawyers in Chicago, Illinois is here to help. Give us a call today at (877)-365-0040 or fill out a contact form online. There is absolutely no risk or obligation, and we never charge a fee unless we obtain a settlement for you.