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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Psychological Abuse in Nursing Homes and Lawsuits: Three Things to Know

When you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s mental well-being in a nursing home, it can be difficult to articulate those fears given that your elderly parent or relative might not show any obvious physical signs of abuse. To be sure, while physical and sexual abuse in nursing homes can product signs and symptoms that often seem indisputable, such as bruising, lacerations, restraint marks, broken bones, and sexually transmitted infections, psychological or emotional abuse can be more difficult to identify. The most important thing to remember is that psychological and emotional abuse does occur, and it is critical to seek advice if you have any suspicions that your elderly loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

The following are three things you should know about psychological abuse and nursing home lawsuits.

Psychological Abuse May Not Produce Any Physical Symptoms

While seniors who experience physical abuse might have noticeable physical symptoms of abuse, you should know that emotional or psychological abuse often does not result in physical signs that are obvious to family members or friends who are visiting the facility. Indeed, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), emotional or psychological abuse often manifests itself in behavioral or intellectual ways. A senior might appear upset or agitated, or may appear to lose interest in activities. Sometimes seniors who have been victims of psychological abuse become withdrawn or non-communicative. In short, any change in a senior’s behavior should be treated as serious, and should be considered a possible sign of emotional or psychological abuse.

Seniors with Dementia May be at Particular Risk of Psychological Abuse

Older adults in nursing homes who suffer from dementia are often targets of various forms of abuse in nursing home settings. While staff members may perpetrate acts of physical abuse upon nursing home residents with dementia who are difficult to handle physically, seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can also become the targets of emotional abuse that includes humiliation, intimidation, and harassment. Since seniors with dementia often cannot articulate the experiences they have been subjected to, or are not believed when they do try to report incidents of abuse, staff members can target these nursing home residents.

Psychological Abuse is Serious and Can Result in a Successful Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

While it can be more difficult to obtain clear evidence of psychological or emotional abuse in a nursing home, it is essential to remember that this is a serious form of abuse that can result in a successful nursing home abuse lawsuit. Not only can an individual staff member be responsible for psychological or emotional abuse, but the facility also may be liable. Your New York nursing home abuse lawyer can discuss the case with you and can determine the best strategy for gathering evidence to support your case.

Contact Our New York Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

Do you have concerns about psychological or emotional abuse in a New York nursing home? One of our experienced New York nursing home negligence attorneys can speak with you today about filing a lawsuit to hold the facility accountable. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today to learn more.


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