When you place your loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to be well taken care of so they can enjoy their golden years. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and some elderly people are threatened or even abused at their home. Even if your relative or friend is suffering from verbal, not physical abuse, you should contact a nursing home attorney in Oklahoma City in order to get the situation resolved.

Emotional pain can be just as damaging to an elderly person as physical hardship, and in extreme cases, such an issue will shorten the patient’s life. For this reason, you have to stay alert for signs that your loved one is suffering, reacting to certain people in an unusual way, or deteriorating faster than you’re expecting. In today’s post, we’ll go over why you should contact a lawyer and how you can tell that abuse is occurring.

Hiring a Nursing Home Attorney for Verbal Abuse in Oklahoma City

If you’ve never dealt with nursing home abuse before, you might not be sure what is included in this term and whether you’ll have a valid case if your nursing home resident isn’t suffering from physical violence. Luckily, the rights of patients are well protected, so you can get help even if the abuse is verbal.

There are many reasons why such an issue can happen, but it is never acceptable, especially as elderly people are more vulnerable and might not be able to defend themselves on their own. For this reason, you should pursue verbal abuse in court and hold the responsible parties accountable. This can prevent the abuse from continuing and protect other elderly people from experiencing the same issue.

What Is Verbal Abuse?

Before getting in touch with your lawyer, make sure you know what the term “verbal abuse” means and what kind of behavior falls into this category. Any time someone threatens or demeans another person, this is considered harassment. Although you might be able to take action if this happens just once, most of our clients come to us with concerns about ongoing behavior.

If your loved one is being called names, blackmailed, yelled at, and insulted on a regular basis, they are suffering from verbal abuse. This type of behavior also includes demeaning the person and attacking their character or personality. Interestingly, even ignoring another person and refusing to speak to them can be considered abuse, particularly if the person refusing to acknowledge your loved one is a carer whose job is to protect and serve elderly people.

Why Does It Happen?

Sometimes, abuse happens because a person is unkind and malicious, in which case they need to be held accountable. This can be a carer, but it can also be a fellow resident or even a visitor of the nursing home. However, if the issue involves a nurse, carer, or member of the medical staff, the underlying problem could be understaffing.

The vast majority of care homes are understaffed, which means that there are not enough employees to take care of all the patients. As a result, one member of staff might need to look after too many residents, or they might need to work longer shifts than is healthy. This can lead to emotional issues and shortness of temper. In such cases, the institution needs to be held accountable as well as the individual involved.

When to Contact Your Lawyer

Sometimes, it’s not clear whether verbal abuse is taking place or not, so you’ll need to check for all the possible signs of a problem. In addition to signals of suffering, you might notice that the patient reacts strangely to certain people and that they are deteriorating at a rapid rate. All of these factors can indicate that you need to take action.

Once you know that your loved one isn’t being treated well at their nursing home, you should contact your lawyer as soon as possible to prevent the situation from escalating. You might also consider removing your relative or friend from the nursing home in question and placing them into a different institution for the time being.

Your Loved One Is Suffering

In certain cases, your nursing home resident’s suffering is evident. If they are mentally well, they might be able to tell you about what is happening, and they may also display symptoms of distress such as crying, physical agitation, and anger. This can be very helpful, as it is clear proof of a problem.

If your loved one tells you about an issue with a fellow resident or a member of staff, you shouldn’t ignore their plea for help. Instead, make sure they are safe first and then speak to a nursing home attorney in Oklahoma City about what can be done.

Your Loved One Reacts Strangely to People

Many elderly people are no longer able to speak clearly about their problems, so it might be harder to find out what the issue is. When you visit your loved one, you might notice that they react differently to certain people than to everyone else. If there is agitation or fear associated with a carer or another person present, you should find out more about the issue. Even if there aren’t any physical signs of harm, your resident might be suffering from abuse.

Your Loved One Is Deteriorating Fast 

Another clear sign of a problem is if you’re noticing rapid changes in a friend or family member. The symptoms of abuse are often similar to dementia, which can make them difficult to detect. Although some cognitive deterioration is normal over time, you should remain alert when this happens very quickly and suddenly. Aside from memory loss, look out for strange behaviors like sucking the thumb, rocking, or making mumbling sounds.

There Might Be Other Issues at Play

One of the most important reasons why you need to seek help for verbal abuse is that this often develops into a larger issue later on. While someone might start out by yelling and insulting your loved one, they could become physically violent later on. To stop this, the situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

You should also remain alert to other types of nursing home abuse that you may not yet be aware of. Aside from physical and emotional violence, some residents experience sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and caregiver neglect. By keeping all of these in mind and looking out for symptoms, you can play a crucial part in keeping your relative or friend safe.

Verbal abuse isn’t always as visible or clear as physical pain, so you will need to remain alert when it comes to your loved one who lives in a nursing home. If they display signs of suffering, are deteriorating rapidly, or act strangely around certain people, you should react by contacting a highly qualified and competent nursing home attorney local to the Oklahoma City area.

Getting help quickly is crucial for your friend or relative’s wellbeing, as the effects of verbal abuse can be significant. In very severe cases, your loved one may face debilitating illness or even premature death as a result of this issue. Get in touch with us at Cannon & Associates in Edmond, OK to book your initial consultation and see how we can help you fight for your nursing home resident’s rights. John Cannon and his team will be happy to speak to you.