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Protecting nursing home residents from psychological abuse

When a loved one is residing in a nursing home, it is probable that you will be feeling protective over them, and you will want to know that they are being looked after to the highest degree. While signs of physical abuse may be easy to recognize, for example when bruises are discovered on the patient's body, signs of emotional and psychological abuse can be much more difficult to spot.

All nursing home patients have the legal right to be treated with respect and dignity. Psychological abuse can have a profound effect on any person and can lead to stress, anxiety or depression.

What types of behavior constitutes psychological abuse?

Many types of behavior can be considered psychological abuse in nursing homes. The behavior could be considered severe, but subtle behavior that is repeated over a long period of time can also have a strong impact. Behavior could include making threats, making a patient feel guilty for their illness or disability, making them feel as though they are a nuisance and insulting or embarrassing the patient.

What are some red flags when it comes to spotting signs of psychological abuse?

Often patients will not disclose to their loved ones that they are suffering from psychological abuse. However they may show signs of depression, anxiety, being agitated and nervous or strange behavior such as rocking themselves for comfort.

If you are concerned that a loved one may be suffering from psychological abuse in a nursing home, it is important to take further action. Learning more about his or her experiences may mean that you become empowered to make positive changes for your loved one's life.

Source: Psychology Today, "When Is It Emotional Abuse?," accessed April 27, 2018

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