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Knoxville Medical Malpractice Attorney > Knoxville Emotional Abuse Attorney

Knoxville Emotional Abuse Attorney

Emotional abuse is one of the hardest types of nursing home abuse to see. Unlike physical abuse which results in welts, bruises, or broken bones, emotional abuse leaves few visible scars. Yet emotional abuse is devastating.

At Atkins Brezina, PLLC, we understand that family members expect a loved one to be protected in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. When our loved ones are harmed, we feel a justifiable sense of outrage. Please contact our Knoxville emotional abuse abuse attorney today to schedule a time to meet.

Defining Emotional Abuse

One reason people don’t see emotional abuse is that they don’t define it. Put simply, emotional abuse is the infliction of emotional pain or distress on a nursing home resident using verbal or non-verbal acts.

Emotional abuse can take make forms, such as:

  • Threats
  • Insults
  • Screaming
  • Harassment
  • Slurs or epithets
  • Name calling
  • Embarrassing the resident before others
  • Unfairly blaming a resident for misbehavior

Emotional abuse can also be caused by giving a resident the silent treatment, lying to them about a loved one’s death, or isolating them from other residents and even family members.

Sometimes the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior is difficult to identify. For example, some staff members have affectionate nicknames for residents, but the resident might find the name embarrassing.  Or a nursing home separates a resident from the rest of the population temporarily out of safety concerns, but the isolated resident sinks into depression.

Red Flags for Emotional Abuse

Sometimes a loved one will tell you that they are being abused. But often the elderly are embarrassed or afraid of their abuser retaliating so they keep silent. For these reasons, family members should pay attention to certain red flags which might indicate emotional abuse:

  • Fear or silence when a certain staff member enters the room
  • Unusual moodiness or depression
  • Self-harming, such as cutting or burning
  • Childish behavior, such as rocking or sucking a thumb
  • No response to conversation

Of course, you might also observe abusive behavior. One technique is to stop by the nursing home at a day or time outside your regular routine. Observe how staff members treat residents. If they are insulting or terrorizing a different resident, they could be insulting to your loved one also when you are not there.

If you suspect emotional abuse, talk to management. They should be on notice and investigate themselves.

Legal Remedies for Emotional Abuse

One advantage of meeting with a Knoxville nursing home abuse attorney is to take control of a situation that might feel overwhelming. An attorney can investigate suspected abuse and get your loved one transferred to a new home, if necessary.

The abusive worker and even the nursing home could be legally liable for harm caused. Abused residents suffer from emotional distress and might lose weight or even become sick. A lawsuit for compensation should cover these losses but also spur a nursing home to raise its standards. Some homes, for example, hire staff without performing adequate background checks which would have uncovered abusive behavior in the past.

Contact a Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Atkins Brezina, PLLC has the experience with nursing home cases to help family members protect their loved ones. If you suspect emotional abuse, give us a call today.

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