A Checklist for Determining Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes

Psychological abuse is a growing problem in our nation’s nursing homes. Although it doesn’t leave physical damage, psychological or mental abuse is still devastating. It can lead to PTSD, depression, or even self-harm. 

The epidemic of nursing home abuse targets the most vulnerable people in our society. Even well-respected and highly rated nursing homes can mistakenly hire an abusive staff member.

If you have a relative who shows any signs of mental abuse, contact the authorities to report the abuse and call the team at Sawyer Law Firm to learn how you can get your loved one the compensation and justice they deserve.

What Is Mental Abuse?

Mental abuse, which many call psychological or emotional abuse, encompasses a wide range of actions. It could involve name-calling, degrading language, keeping an elderly adult from contacting their family or leaving the home, or ignoring the resident entirely. 

How to Spot Mental Abuse

Mental abuse is often harder to identify than physical abuse since the effects are more subtle. One or more of these signs could be an indicator that your relative is experiencing abuse. In some cases, they may benefit from therapy. Here are some telling signs of mental elder abuse:

  • Formerly outgoing parent is withdrawn, shy, or quiet
  • Fearful to speak
  • Stops attending events 
  • Reduced enjoyment in favorite activities
  • Weight loss
  • Increased agitation, including violent outbursts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Rocking back and forth
  • Sucking thumb
  • Mumbling 

Even if you trust the staff members, having your relative evaluated by a therapist if they show any of these signs is essential. In the absence of mental abuse, these indicators could point to dementia or other diseases. If abuse did occur, a therapist can help your relative process it and treat any resulting mental health issues like depression or PTSD.

Mental abuse is sometimes accompanied by physical, financial, or sexual abuse. If your relative shows any signs of this treatment, contact the Alabama Assisted Living Facilities Complaint hotline and an Alabama nursing home lawyer immediately.

Often, adult children have to move their elderly parents into nursing homes because they live too far away to care for them by themselves. This makes it significantly harder to spot mental abuse.

If you have close friends nearby, ask them to visit your relative once or twice a month and report on their mental and physical state. If that’s not possible, arrange for your relative to have access to an electronic tablet so you can video chat with them regularly, keeping an eye out for these signs.

Protecting Nursing Home Residents

If you suspect your parent or relative has suffered mental abuse at the hands of their nursing home staff, you may be able to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit on their behalf. Nursing homes have a duty to provide a certain level of care while respecting the rights of their residents. In 1965, the federal government passed the Older American’s Act, which funds critical services to support senior’s health and vulnerable elder rights protection programs. 

Elder rights include:

  • Right to live in a safe environment
  • Right to make their own decisions
  • Right to live free of all types of abuse, including mental abuse
  • Right to be free of discrimination

Because of this law and the duty of nursing homes to provide a safe environment for their residents, you can file a lawsuit against a nursing home to receive compensation for the abuse. 

However, mental abuse is challenging to prove since there is little physical evidence. Working with a legal team with extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases is essential for a successful outcome.

After consulting with you and your elderly relative, your lawyer can determine whether you can file a lawsuit against the nursing home staff. The team at Sawyer Law Firm knows how to work with traumatized older adults and puts their mental well-being above all else. 

If necessary, we will also report the abuse to the appropriate government oversight organizations, both state and federal. Often, more than one resident experiences abuse but is afraid to speak out or lacks the necessary support system to do so.

Get Compensation for Your Parent

At Sawyer Law Firm, we have dedicated ourselves to protecting the rights of nursing home residents. Our experienced team offers a free consultation to determine whether your relative can receive compensation for the mental abuse they endured at a nursing home.

Call us today to learn more about our nursing home lawyers and our process. We always work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid until we win your case. Although compensation can’t erase the pain and suffering of your relative, it can help them enjoy a future free of mental abuse.

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