Nursing home residents are vulnerable to many types of abuse, including physical, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse.
All of these types of abuse make residents potentially eligible for compensation through nursing home abuse claims, but first, they and their loved ones must prove that the abuse occurred.
Physical and sexual abuse can often be proven with medical examinations, and financial abuse can be proven by tracking bank statements, money transfers, and changes in wills.
Emotional abuse can be more difficult to prove, but certain types of evidence can make it easier for victims and their loved ones to succeed when filing claims against negligent nursing home facilities.
It is also important to note that there can often be more than one type of abuse occurring. When nursing home residents are emotionally abused, they may also be neglected or physically abused. Our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can help you investigate.
A Depression or Anxiety Diagnosis by a Mental Health Professional
Simply noticing that your loved one seems more depressed or anxious than usual isn’t likely to help you win an abuse claim against their nursing home. However, an official diagnosis from a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist can serve as valuable evidence for your claim.
Never ignore mental health struggles in your loved one while they’re living in a nursing home, regardless of age or health. Arranging for your loved one to visit a mental health professional can not only help them begin to recover from their depression or anxiety, but it can also put into motion an emotional abuse claim against their nursing home.
Depression, anxiety, and other sudden changes in personality could also indicate other types of abuse are occurring, including physical abuse.
Physical Symptoms Caused by Emotional Abuse
When residents are emotionally abused by caretakers, staff members, or even other residents, they often experience physical symptoms in addition to their psychological symptoms. For example, they may begin to eat less, have poorer quality sleep, and their existing health problems may worsen. They also may show signs of fear when certain caretakers, staff members, and other residents are near them.
If you notice your loved one has lost weight, appears dehydrated, or acts strangely when certain people enter their room or walk near them, it could be a sign they’re being emotionally abused. These are also symptoms of neglect, for which nursing home employees can be held liable.
Previous Complaints About Emotional Abuse
Although not all residents are capable of complaining about emotional abuse, whether due to fear of reprisal or cognitive problems, many do. Unfortunately, complaints about emotional abuse don’t always get the same level of attention and action as complaints about physical and sexual abuse.
However, if your loved one has complained many times in the past about emotional abuse, the log of complaints can help strengthen their claim if you or they decide to seek compensation for nursing home abuse. Your loved one’s claim may also be strengthened if their nursing home or a particular caretaker was accused of emotional abuse by other residents in the past.
Video and/or Audio Recordings of Emotional Abuse
When emotional abuse occurs in nursing homes, it often occurs in residents’ private or shared rooms. Because of that, residents may have few, if any, witnesses to the abuse they suffer from staff members, caretakers, and other residents.
Thankfully, Oklahoma law allows nursing home residents to place cameras and other electronic monitoring devices in their rooms. If your loved one’s room is equipped with a camera and/or microphone, it can help you prove that emotional abuse is occurring.
It also may be possible to retrieve surveillance footage and audio from cameras and/or recording devices placed in common areas in the nursing home where emotional abuse may occur, such as dining rooms, lounges, physical therapy rooms, and more.
Witness Statements of Emotional Abuse
Although abuse isn’t always reported in nursing homes, even when it’s witnessed by others, some staff members, caretakers, and residents go out of their way to let others know when they witness it. Some nursing homes work quickly to protect residents, but not all do. Some allow abuse to continue indefinitely, putting residents at risk of physical and psychological harm.
If someone tells you that your loved one is being emotionally abused, or if you see or hear the abuse yourself, you should report it to the nursing home administrators right away. You can also use this witness account, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, if you or your loved one decide to file a claim for nursing home abuse.
Our Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Know How to Prove Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing homes don’t always take abuse claims seriously, even when victims and their loved ones have plenty of evidence to show it happened or is still occurring. It takes years of experience building and winning these types of claims to succeed, and that’s exactly what we have at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers.
When you contact us about your loved one’s nursing home abuse claim, we’ll use our experience to determine exactly what’s happening at their care facility and how much compensation you may be owed. Then, we’ll demand fair payment from the facility for your loved one’s physical and emotional abuse or neglect. If they refuse to pay, we won’t hesitate to take them to court.
Contact us anytime for a free consultation.