When considering the ways that nursing home patients can suffer from neglect or abuse, many people don’t realize that psychological abuse is perpetuated on some residents by staff or even other residents. This is particularly challenging to identify and prove when it’s suspected.
Psychological abuse of nursing home residents can be verbal, with the caregiver making disparaging remarks to or about the patient in front of them. They may mock the resident’s failed efforts to complete simple tasks or scold them for soiling themselves when they are incontinent. They can terrorize them emotionally and mentally by triggering phobias or ignoring the residents’ pleas for help for hours on end.
A particularly malicious staff member might threaten to harm or even kill the resident (or the resident’s beloved family member) if the resident ever complains about the way they are treated.
In short, a medically and psychologically fragile elderly person who is at the mercy of their caregivers is about the most vulnerable patient there is with the exception of pre-verbal pediatric patients. A single bad apple on the staff at a nursing home or long term care facility can run roughshod over residents’ rights long before they ever get caught and fired.
If you have an elderly parent, grandparent or other loved one in such a facility, they need you to be their advocate. They are no longer able to take the necessary steps to stop this abuse and seek the justice they deserve. You must be their voice and speak up for them.
It can be challenging to know where to start in these situations because you don’t want it to get worse before it gets better. Learning more about your legal options can provide you with an action plan.