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Verbal Abuse

Description of Verbal Abuse

Under both federal and state law, it is illegal to abuse an elder living in an elder care facility which is federally funded.  These regulations make it illegal to physically, emotionally, financially, or verbally abuse an older individual.

Verbal abuse is a type of emotional abuse, and it occurs when someone belittles, reprimands or humiliates an elderly person which causes the elder severe emotional distress.  Although it is difficult to detect verbal abuse without witnessing it firsthand, behavior of an elder such as rocking, sucking and mumbling to oneself may be signs of verbal abuse.

What to do if Your Loved One is the Victim of Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can have long lasting emotional effects on the victim.  Patients in nursing home facilities are usually admitted when they are already fragile both physically and mentally.  Consequently, a patient who is verbally abused can suffer psychological harm.  It is important to make sure that the patient receives proper psychiatric treatment and, if necessary, medical treatment for any resulting injuries.

Also, notify the nursing home of instances of verbal abuse committed by a nursing home employee.  It is the legal responsibility of the nursing home to remedy the situation.  You should also contact Adult Protective Services (APS).  APS was made to help elder adults (65 years and older) and dependent adults (18 to 64 years old who are disabled) who are victims of abuse or neglect.  A list of Adult Protective Services’ contact information organized by California counties is provided here.

Lastly, contact your local State Ombudsman.  The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints made regarding resident long-term care facilities, including assisted living and nursing home facilities.  You can call their Crisis line at 1-800-231-4024 or visit the California Department of Aging website for a list of county ombudsman phone numbers in California.

Common Causes of Verbal Abuse in Nursing Homes

There is no one cause of verbal abuse; however, it is most commonly attributed to the nursing home’s underlying motive to maximize their profits, even if this means their patients receive worse care.  In order to yield higher profits, nursing homes will hire people who are unqualified.  Further, they will often inadequately train and overwork their employees.

The culmination of these problems results in nursing home employees who may be unsatisfied with their work or unfit for the positions they hold.  As a result, patients suffer, often becoming the targets of verbal abuse.  Verbal abuse can also be the result of insufficient background checks on nursing home employees.

Contact York Law Firm

If you or someone you love has been verbally abused in an elder care facility, you may be entitled to recover.  Our lawyers, serving Sacramento, Fairfield, Roseville, Elk Grove, Folsom, Fairfield and the Bay Area, offer legal representation to victims of verbal abuse.  Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.

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