John Price Law Blog

How to Detect Mental Abuse in Nursing Home Patients

Nursing home negligence is a sad reality throughout the United States. It takes shape in various forms and does not have to be relegated to physical abuse. It can also manifest in mental abuse among nursing home patients, although this type is a bit more difficult to detect. It may take a more discerning eye to identify mental abuse, although here is a glimpse of some of the tell-tale signs.

Types of Mental Abuse

While it is not the most documented form of abuse in nursing homes, mental abuse continues to be very prominent. Mental abuse can also be an accompanying form of abuse. It goes along with physical and sexual abuse, but can also stand out on its own. It remains the most difficult form of abuse to identify without the obvious signs of other types of abuse.

First, it is important to establish what constitutes mental or psychological abuse. It could consist of threats made to patients by staff members or the act of humiliating them. Staff members can also inflict damage by instilling fear in patients. These can be defined into certain actions, highlighted by harassment. The act of insulting or scolding a patient also constitutes mental abuse. Some staff members have even been known to stalk patients. While these behaviors are both cruel and inhumane, they occur every day.

Difficulties in Detection

There are a number of factors that make it difficult to detect mental abuse in a nursing home. Elderly patients are susceptible to a variety of impairments. A decrease in cognitive capabilities can make these patients east prey for unscrupulous staff members. Elderly residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are also easy targets and especially vulnerable.

Warming Signs

Despite all that is working against patients, there are signs to look for that indicate they are being psychologically abused. Patients who suffer from an unexplained bout of depression or have a sudden hesitancy to speak may have fallen victim to abuse. When a patient is being abused, they also have a tendency to grow more passive and are reluctant to make eye contact. It could even lead to instances where the patient refuses to communicate at all. Altered sleeping habits, confusion, a surge in anxiety and sudden loss of appetite are further indicators.

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If you suspect that someone you know is falling victim to nursing home negligence in South Carolina, contact the John Price Law Firm today.