What Is Nursing Home Psychological Abuse? How To Get Justice For Your Loved One In Chicago, Illinois

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While nursing homes can be an excellent option for elderly individuals who need more care than can be provided to them in their own home, they can also be a nightmare waiting to happen for vulnerable individuals who are placed in an abusive environment. Reading reviews and visiting facilities cannot always tell you whether the facility you have chosen for your loved one is perfectly safe – especially because some forms of abuse may not be readily apparent upon first glance.

Many of us can guess some of the common forms of abuse in a nursing home, such as neglect that can lead to deadly falls and bed sores, or physical violence that causes bruising or even broken bones. However, there’s a more insidious form of harm that is more difficult to detect because it leaves no visible evidence, only silent suffering and emotional damage. This is psychological abuse, and it is depressingly prevalent throughout many care facilities. Today, we will explain what this form of abuse is, how to identify it, and what to do when you suspect that your loved one is being emotionally injured in a nursing home.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological Abuse Is Common And Hard To Spot

The definition of psychological abuse is to use verbal and nonverbal communication to control or harm another person, especially those who are already vulnerable due to their age, physical ability, or protected status; it is also known as emotional or mental abuse. There are a variety of ways that an abuser will harm their victim, but some of the most common ones are insults, humiliation, isolation, intimidation, and manipulation, which can manifest in a variety of ways.

This form of abuse is common in nursing homes for a variety of reasons. Firstly, many facilities are incredibly understaffed, and the staff present may not be paid well enough to care for all their basic needs, which can make them stressed and frustrated. Some residents may have complex conditions that are difficult to manage, and these illnesses may make the patient lash out aggressively at those who are trying to care for them.

While these issues can be solved by better oversight and more sufficient staffing, another issue is almost impossible to fix: some individuals who enter nursing simply do not have the empathy and emotional intelligence necessary to provide great care. They may have become a caretaker because they enjoy having power over vulnerable people, which means they are unlikely to stop abusing even if they are caught.

Though There May Not Be Physical Signs Of Psychological Abuse, There Are Indicators That Something Might Not Be Right

No matter the cause of the abuse, there’s no question that it can severely impact a person’s quality of life, especially because individuals in nursing homes have very little opportunity to escape their abuser or speak up for themselves. As an advocate for your loved one, you need to watch for the signs of psychological abuse and get help for your elderly relative.

With any abuse situation, you should look for changes in behavior, but this is especially important for suspected psychological abuse, as it will not leave bruises or scars. If your loved one suddenly becomes very withdrawn and quiet where before they were bubbly and gregarious, this is a warning sign; similarly, if a usually laid-back individual starts showing aggression and irritability, this may suggest that someone is harming them. Listen also for nonspecific physical complaints, like headaches, stomachaches, or achy joints, which cannot be correlated to a medical reason. Lastly, pay attention to their grooming and hygiene, as a sudden lack of interest in their appearance may suggest abuse-triggered depression.

If You’re Concerned About Psychological Abuse, Get In Touch With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away

Because this form of abuse does not leave any injuries, it may be difficult to press charges on the nursing home staff, which is why it’s all the more important that you talk to a Chicago nursing home abuse law firm if you believe that your relative is being harmed in a facility. They will examine the evidence and decide how to move forward, as well as advise you on how to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities like the Illinois Department of Public Health.

When you speak to a lawyer, bring as much evidence as you can, including detailed notes of what your loved one has told you and your own observations of the issue. They will take this and investigate the case for you, using a variety of methods to gather more information about the nursing home and its employees. Most importantly, they will work to diminish the impact on your vulnerable loved one, doing their best to seek a solution out of court so that your relatives will not be put through the stressful process of going on trial.

Every Form Of Abuse Is Dangerous, But Psychological Abuse Is Especially Insidious

We’ve all heard the common refrain that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” However, it’s simply not true. Those in the last stages of their life are incredibly vulnerable, and psychological abuse or intimidation by their caretakers can greatly diminish their quality of life – and even their lifespan overall.

If you have a loved one currently residing in a care facility, it’s essential that you pay close attention to their moods and behavior to detect and confront any possible psychological abuse. Remember that you can always rely upon a qualified nursing home abuse attorney in Chicago, Illinois to help you get to the bottom of the matter – and to get your loved one justice for their pain.

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