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Verbal abuse in nursing homes

When we place a parent, grandparent or loved one into a nursing home, we expect them to be loved, comforted and cared for. We put all our trust in the carers' hands. People who reside in nursing homes are vulnerable and can be especially sensitive to stressful environments.

Sadly, verbal abuse in care homes is surprisingly common. There is no excuse or valid reason for a nursing home employee to act verbally abusive toward an elderly person in his or her care. These actions can cause much distress to the elderly person, and they may even feel too ashamed or distressed to make a complaint or tell a family member.

Verbal abuse can come in the form of cursing and shouting, or could be a more subtle form of bullying or psychological intimidation. They may also be spoken to like a child and made to feel like a baby, further belittling them.

Looking for signs

If you are suspicious that a loved one is being verbally or perhaps even physically abused at a care home, it is important to remember that they may be too embarrassed or upset to confide in you straight away. Therefore you should be vigilant and look for warning signs such as insomnia, agitation, anxiety and depression.

What can be done

You should make sure to become well acquainted with all the staff at the nursing home so that you can be well informed of any situation as it arises. If you witness abuse or are told about it, you should report it to the authorities and remove the patient. It is advisable to seek legal guidance if you wish to make a complaint.

Source: Nursing home abuse guide, "Verbal abuse," accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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