New Mexico Nursing Home Emotional Abuse Attorneys
Helping the Victims of Nursing Home Emotional Abuse
When we put our loved ones in nursing homes, we do so with the trust that they will be treated with decency, respect, and given the care and attention they need. Furthermore, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) established an Elder Bill of Rights that legally requires kind and decent treatment for every one of our elderly family members. Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes is still a rampant problem. One of the most insidious forms of abuse is emotional abuse, which is often difficult to detect because it doesn’t leave physical marks. What it does, however, is make those last years of an elder’s life miserable.
If your loved one has suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a nursing home, something can be done about it. Nursing homes are legally required to protect the rights of residents, and violations can be grounds for a civil lawsuit or insurance claim to bring justice in the form of monetary compensation and correction or removal of those responsible.
Forms of Emotional Abuse Toward the Elderly
When an elderly person is emotionally abused, it can be difficult to see because such abuse doesn’t leave a physical mark. It does, however, leave telltale signs that friends and family can often detect. Some of the common forms of emotional abuse toward your loved ones from nursing home staff include:
- Humiliating the resident
- Ridiculing the resident
- Blaming the resident for anything that goes wrong, their physical condition, lack of family visitation, or anything else that could be perceived as the resident’s fault
- Using the resident as a scapegoat for perceived wrongdoings
- Treating the resident in a degrading or insulting manner
- Ignoring the communication, requests, or needs of a resident
- Frightening or terrorizing residents
- Threatening or acting hostile toward residents
- Isolating a resident
- Refusing to speak to a resident as punishment
Any form of emotional abuse can have a profound effect on their wellbeing, and it isn’t unheard of for health to deteriorate along with emotional trauma and helplessness.
How to Identify Emotional Abuse
Identifying the signs of emotional abuse can be difficult, but the first step is to routinely check up on and visit with your loved ones in nursing homes. Emotional abuse is often associated with marked changes in emotion, attitude, and happiness. Some of the common signs include:
- Lashing out
- Appearing apathetic
- Intense mood swings
- Unwillingness or inability to visit with friends and family
- Avoiding eye contact
- Appearing depressed
- Increased shyness
- Shying away from contact or interaction
- Violent behavior toward others or themselves
In reality, dramatic changes to a person’s personality are the result of something – whether it’s abuse, over-medication, or other problems. If you notice something wrong, the best thing to do is ask questions and scrutinize the facility. If you believe that abuse may be occurring, a nursing home abuse lawyer can investigate and take legal action to seek justice and compensation.
Elder Abuse Statistics
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), here are some statistics regarding elder abuse, and specifically emotional abuse:
- 33.4% of nursing home residents and their families report some form of emotional abuse, and 32.5% of nursing home residents admitted to emotionally abusing residents at least once in the past year
- Two out of three nursing home staff admitted to committing some form of abuse in the last year
- Only one out of twenty-four cases of elder abuse are reported
What to Do If You Think Your Loved One is Being Abused
If you’re concerned that your loved one may be suffering from abuse, there are resources out there to help you. Connecting with your local Adult Protective Services agent can help get the matter investigated. You may need to move your loved one to a different environment where he or she is safe or bring them back home and use adult daycare services. If you believe your loved one is a victim of abuse, you can contact our attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, for help. We are intimately familiar with nursing home law, and we can take legal action to protect your loved ones and hold the abusers legally accountable for their actions.
Let Us Help You Today
At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, our veteran attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you protect the rights and dignity of your loved ones in nursing homes. We represent clients through throughout New Mexico. Contact us today at (903) 290-1774 to schedule a free consultation.