What Is Verbal Abuse In Nursing Homes?
Nursing home abuse is going to take many forms, from allied physical violence to subtle emotional abuse, which can include verbal abuse. Verbal abuse does not include physical contact but it can be just as damaging to the psyche and well-being of elderly patients as more obvious forms of abuse are. If you believe that somebody you love and care for has been the victim of verbal abuse in a nursing home you should know your legal rights, and reach out to a nursing home lawyer such as Davis & Brusca, LLC.
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines verbal abuse as the infliction of pain, anguish, or distress that are caused by verbal acts. Nursing home staff may use verbal abuse and attempt to coerce, degrade, frighten or punish nursing home residents. Some of the most common forms of verbal abuse are, but not limited to, threats or intimidation, verbal harassment, insults, name-calling, humiliation, habitual blaming, manipulation, and things such as giving the silent treatment or cold shoulder.
Some examples of verbal abuse or more blame than others such as a nursing staff member is cruelly exploiting their authority to harass or bully vulnerable nursing home patients. More often than not, caregivers do not intend to harm patients, but over time their joking or teasing can get out of hand.
Sometimes a staff member may become agitated with the residents’ behavior and may withhold or threaten to restrict social activities or food that resident due to that behavior. However, the thing is that residents cannot always control their agitation or their behaviors. Oftentimes nursing home staff are overworked, they are inadequately trained and they are poorly supervised. This means that employees are more likely to foster abusive environments.
Nursing home residents are going to rely on their caregivers for every need, for medical treatment to their basic necessities like food and water. For many people, nursing home staff members also provide an important service of companionship, especially if their family members do not visit. This means that abuse happens to these people, and they feel extremely isolated and helpless because their caregivers are the ones doing it to them.
Not only that, but verbal abuse victims or to be more likely to be embarrassed, fear retaliation, or they may be hesitant to report altogether. Because they do not know where to turn, they are just going to become withdrawn or depressed and over time they will suffer consequences such as physical ailments, weakening health, deteriorating mental status or even premature death.
The first step to helping victims of verbal abuse is putting a stop to the harmful behavior. The second step is most likely reaching out to a nursing home lawyer, to see what you do next. If you have a case your lawyer can advise you on the next steps to take, such as possibly transferring your loved one to a new nursing home.