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Recognizing Emotional Abuse in California Nursing Homes

By Walton Law APCJuly 14, 2020July 23rd, 2023No Comments

In 2018, 52 million Americans aged 65 and older accounted for 16 percent of the country’s population. The size of this group, set to nearly double in the next 40 years, accounts for the high demand of nursing home and long-term care needs in the United States. As people make the difficult decisions about the care of elderly loved ones, it’s reasonable to expect any facility tasked with caring for a family member to exhibit the highest levels of professionalism, compassion, and respect for them at all times.

Unfortunately, far too often this is not the case. Understaffing, lack of proper training, and insufficient supervision of staff members, nurses, nursing assistants, and health aides all contribute to the abuse of these vulnerable patients. It can be difficult to spot emotional or psychological abuse of a patient – unlike physical abuse that results in bruises or broken bones, they often don’t present obvious signs that something is going wrong.

The difficulty is even greater with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in family members being allowed little or no in-person contact with nursing home residents to visit and observe them for signs of abuse. However, it’s still possible to understand common types of emotional abuse and look for signs it may be occurring, even if the victim won’t admit outright that they are being abused.

Common Types of Nursing Home Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse occurs when a person behaves in a way that cause the victim to feel emotional pain and stress. Harassment, threats, intimidation, and verbal attacks all constitute abuse, but it can occur in many different forms, such as:

  • Demeaning the victim;
  • Publicly humiliating the victim;
  • Calling the victim names;
  • Isolating the victim from loved ones;
  • Screaming at, threatening, or degrading the victim; and/or
  • Restricting the victim’s access to food or water.

Signs of Abuse

Even if you can’t spend time visiting a loved one in-person at their nursing home, it is still possible to observe signs that something is amiss, and abuse may be occurring. It is important to speak to management at the facility, contact a local ombudsman, get law enforcement involved, and contact a San Diego nursing home abuse attorney right away if you notice any of these indicators:

  • Sudden, drastic behavior changes like anger, anxiety, or depression;
  • Uncharacteristically withdrawing from family or friends;
  • Expressing fear or reluctance at being left alone with staff in the facility;
  • Telling implausible stories; and/or
  • Not wanting to answer questions about the care or treatment they are receiving.

Speak to a San Diego Nursing Home Lawyer

It can be difficult to spot emotional abuse in the best of times. The lack of access caused by the pandemic makes it even more important to remain connected to your loved one in a nursing home and check for signs of abuse. If you suspect a family member has been injured by emotional abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact the skilled San Diego nursing home attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our attorneys have years of experience providing compassionate, personalized representation for our clients and have recovered millions in damages on their behalf. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or complete our Contact Us page to schedule a free initial case evaluation today. We’re here to answer your questions, discuss your options, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

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