Emotional & Psychological Abuse in Colorado Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and assisted living facilities host residents at vulnerable points in their lives. While they hope to heal physically, mentally terrorized residents might find it hard to accomplish their recovery goals.

Nursing homes and their staff must face the consequences if they’ve emotionally threatened residents, placing them in a constant state of fear and distress. Victims of emotional abuse in nursing homes should call an attorney immediately to hold the right parties accountable.

Contact Nursing Home Justice Today

Nursing Home Justice Gains Respect for Your Family

Emotional abuse cases are demoralizing and get swept under the rug by staff members and nursing home facilities. Only an experienced emotional abuse lawyer knows what it takes to find the responsible parties and hold them accountable so you can recover mentally and financially.

Attorney Mac Hester, the founder of Nursing Home Justice, has over 35 years of legal experience and guides you through your case with compassion and integrity. Nursing Home Justice isn’t intimidated by nursing homes and the corporate Goliaths that back them. We’ll stand firm and relentlessly pursue justice.

Contact Nursing Home Justice today – (303) 775-8128.


What is Emotional & Psychological Abuse?

Emotional and psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. This type of abuse isn’t as blatantly obvious as physical or sexual abuse; however, it’s just as damaging.

It’s also the most prevalent form of abuse. One study cited on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website reported that 33.4% of patients experienced psychological abuse among institutions.

When nursing homes, staff members, or other residents abuse patients psychologically, it violates their residents’ rights and creates a toxic environment that doesn’t encourage healing. 

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*Please note Nursing Home Justice only takes cases based in Colorado.

Our firm reaches success through our attention to detail, genuine care for our clients, and relentless desire to make you whole.

Types of Emotional & Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse could come in many forms, ranging from verbal assaults like screaming to nonverbal types of abuse such as giving residents the “silent treatment” in their time of need.

Verbal Abuse

Types of verbal abuse include the following:

  • Threatening or intimidating residents
  • Shouting or yelling at residents
  • Name-calling or otherwise humiliating the patient
  • Scapegoating

Nonverbal Abuse

Nursing home staff members could emotionally harm residents without saying anything in the following ways:

  • Not letting them see their family
  • Isolating them from activities
  • Not allowing them to use the bathroom
  • Giving residents the silent treatment or ignoring them

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

While you or a loved one might not have apparent bumps or bruises, you could still look out for the following warning signs of mental abuse, which include:

  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Withdrawal from daily activities
  • Increased sense of fear
  • Changes in mood when staff members are around
  • Feelings of worthlessness

While you may only notice these non-physical signs of emotional abuse, you could experience physical differences if the behavior goes unreported. Sudden weight loss from a lack of appetite, lack of sleep due to insomnia, or worsening medical conditions could all be physical effects of mental abuse.

Causes of Emotional & Psychological Abuse

Depending on your situation, there could be multiple causes for emotional abuse at a nursing home, long-term care facility, or assisted living facility. Most often, the abuse is caused by negligent hiring and a lack of staff on duty to supervise other employees.

Negligent Hiring

Nursing homes should only hire licensed staff members who received a proper background check. Failure to follow this procedure leads to inexperienced staff members taking care of you or your loved one.

Without a background check, there’s no way to tell if a potential candidate has had a history of emotionally abusing residents. Potential hires could also struggle with drug addiction or depression, making their behavior around residents unpredictable.

Understaffed Nursing Homes

Residents pay the price when nursing homes cut corners and try to staff facilities with as few employees as possible.

With little supervision, understaffed nursing homes could get away with terrorizing patients relentlessly. Further, employees might feel stressed and pressured from lack of support, causing them to lash out at residents.

Nursing homes should always have the correct number of staff members on duty to ensure residents receive the best care.

Who’s Liable for Nursing Home Emotional Abuse?

Although you or your loved one’s caregiver might seem most likely to blame, they could only be the tip of the iceberg. Below are some parties that could be liable for emotional abuse:

  • Nursing Home Caregivers – Nursing home staff are obligated to uphold a high standard of care for residents. Reports of them yelling, intimidating, or ignoring residents could lead to them compensating you.
  • Other Residents – Staff aren’t the only ones capable of mental harm. Other residents could falsely accuse patients, call them names, or humiliate them publicly as well.
  • Nursing Homes – The facility is responsible for providing residents with the highest quality care. Refusing to report abuse could put them in legal trouble.
  • Management Companies – The company that did the nursing home’s hiring could face legal claims if it failed to administer a proper background check or act against the abuse.
  • Nursing Home Chain Entity – All nursing homes have a parent company. Their decision to cut corners and poorly run nursing homes could make them responsible for a resident’s damages.

What Compensation Can You Recover?

Your damages ultimately determine the amount you could recover in your claim against a negligent nursing home.

Damages for a Claim for Emotional & Psychological Abuse

Nursing Home Justice fights to recover the following damages for you or your loved one:

  • Physical pain caused by mental abuse
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Medical bills
  • Long-term care expenses

Damages for Wrongful Death

If your loved one was in critical condition, and the emotional and psychological abuse led to their death, you could file a wrongful death claim. In this lawsuit, you could recover the following:

  • Loss of financial support your loved one would have provided to you, their heirs, or designated beneficiaries (e.g., decedent was a rehab patient who was going to return to work)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Non-economic damages for loss of companionship

Punitive Damages

Under specific circumstances, you could recover punitive damages—compensation intended to punish the at-fault party. This applies when particularly egregious behavior is present. 

How to Report Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home

If you are experiencing emotional abuse or suspect your loved one is, report it immediately.

A lot of emotional and psychological abuse goes unreported, and it’s vital to raise awareness of this issue and get the justice you deserve.

Contact the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment or your local ombudsman to file a complaint and hire a nursing home abuse lawyer.

Here’s How We Obtain Justice for Victims

Attorney Mac Hester of Nursing Home Justice cares deeply about the hardships you and your family endured because of the Nursing Home’s negligence. We’ll help you in the following ways:

  • We’ll Listen to Your Story – We want to know who you are and how you were harmed more than we want to process a high volume of cases. We’re ready to hear your goals and help you get justice.
  • We’ll Investigate Your Case – The individual abuser is one piece of the puzzle. We’ll get to the bottom of the abuse and collect the evidence you need to support your claim.
  • We’ll Fight for Your Compensation – We know money won’t erase what the nursing home did, but it could help you recover from your losses. You might need ongoing therapy to move past this time in your life.