Seeking Justice for Victims of Psychological Abuse in Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, mental abuse often goes unchecked because it doesn’t leave any physical evidence on the victim’s body like physical abuse. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) has made psychological abuse illegal in nursing homes. If you suspect your elderly loved one might have become a victim of psychological abuse in a nursing home, our nursing home abuse attorney in San Antonio at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham can help you take legal action and obtain the rightful compensation your loved one deserves. 

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What is Psychological Abuse?

Psychological abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the infliction of emotional distress, anguish, and harm on an individual. Mental abuse leaves subtle symptoms and can be difficult to detect. It can leave a resident feeling sad, depressed, helpless, fearful, and anxious.

Psychological abuse often contributes to a severe decline in the victim’s physical and cognitive health. In most cases, severe emotional abuse is inflicted by the nursing home staff. However, it may also be inflicted by other residents, in which case the nursing home is nevertheless liable if it knew, or should have known, that psychological abuse was occurring.  

Types of Mental Abuse in Texas Nursing Homes

Psychological abuse can fall under two categories – verbal and nonverbal. 

Verbal abuse may include:

  • Threatening the resident
  • Yelling or shouting at the resident
  • Shaming, humiliating, or embarrassing the resident privately or while in the presence of other staff members and residents
  • Mocking the patient’s disabilities
  • Ridiculing or insulting a resident
  • Ignoring or trivializing a resident’s concerns
  • Speaking poorly of a resident to other residents or staff members in an intentionally loud voice to intimidate or demean them
  • Accusing or blaming the resident 
  • Being mean or callous to the resident
  • Saying hurtful things to the resident

Nonverbal psychological abuse includes:

  • Scaring or intimidating a resident by giving them threatening looks
  • Isolating the resident from social activities, family visits, and other residents
  • Ignoring the resident’s calls for help
  • Failing to acknowledge their presence or giving them the silent treatment
  • Removing the resident’s wheelchair, glasses, walkers, canes, and other assistive devices from within their reach
  • Preventing the resident from talking to anyone or going outside
  • Limiting a resident’s access to bathroom, water, and food
  • Evoking disorientation and distress by hiding their personal items
  • Terrorizing the resident by pretending to cause physical harm
  • Treating the resident as if they were a child
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Warning Signs of Psychological Abuse in Seniors

Mental abuse can remain unchecked for a long time. Family and loved ones should look out for sudden changes in demeanor, mannerisms, behavior, and personality. You should take immediate steps to protect your elderly loved one if you notice any of these signs:

  • Sudden disinterest in once enjoyable activities or withdrawal from social activities
  • Sudden and uncharacteristic change in personality
  • Sudden bursts of sadness, anger, or anxiety
  • Disregard for personal hygiene
  • Not wanting to take medication
  • Sudden references to death, including proclivity to self-harm and suicidal thoughts
  • Obvious changes in eating habits, weight, and sleeping schedule
  • Signs of excessive fear, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and nervousness
  • Depression and social withdrawal
  • Teeth grinding, rocking back and forth, thumb sucking, nail-biting, hair pulling, and other repetitive behavior

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Legal Recourse for Psychological Abuse in a Texas Nursing Home

Nearly 1 in every 3 nursing home employees have mentally abused residents, according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Texas law affords remedies to victims of nursing home psychological abuse in the same manner as victims of physical abuse.  

Your loved one or you can file a civil lawsuit on behalf your loved one to hold the responsible party accountable and seek monetary damages for the following:

  • Medical and therapy expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Texas families have two years from the date of injury or the mentally traumatic action to file a lawsuit against the nursing home and the responsible staff member. It takes an experienced and persevering nursing home abuse attorney to gather adequate evidence and prepare a strong claim. 

Our Trial Attorney Has the Experience to Take on Large Nursing Homes and Insurance Companies for Maximum Damages. Get Strong Legal Representation to Fight for Your Rights.

The committed nursing home abuse and neglect attorney at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham has a history of successfully fighting against mental and elder abuse in nursing homes. As soon as you sign up with us for your case, we will move immediately to pursue all the necessary legal steps to protect your loved one from further harm, while preparing a robust legal strategy to maximize compensation. 

Our founding medical malpractice attorney, Glenn W. Cunningham, firmly believes that no one should have to suffer psychological and emotional abuse, especially in a place where they are supposed to be safe and nurtured. Glenn W. Cunningham will work tirelessly to protect nursing home residents from abuse and recover maximum possible compensation for the horrid acts they have had to endure. To set up your complimentary consultation, call our office or reach us online.

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I can’t say enough good things about Glenn Cunningham and his firm.

He took my case and fought for me from day one. Glenn and his staff were professional and caring. They kept me updated on all aspects of my case. We were able to go to mediation and reach a settlement that was more than fair. I would recommend Glenn to any of my friends and family. I am beyond pleased with how my case was handled and ultimately settled.


Glenn Cunningham is tough, smart, experienced.

A very deep heartfelt thank you to the whole team at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham. Glenn is tough, smart, experienced, and he will do everything in his power to make sure that you or your loved one get the best outcome possible from whatever personal tragedy you may be facing. He fought for me when no one else would. He will do the same for you.


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I am very pleased with the legal services provided by Glenn Cunningham. He is very competent, knowledgeable, caring, personable, and professional. If you are seeking justice for medical malpractice or wrongful death, Glenn will fight for you. He is tenacious and assertive on behalf of his clients. He also keeps you informed of the status of your case on a regular basis.


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Glenn was amazing! Very knowledgeable, and Nicole, his secretary, is very helpful and knowledgeable as well. We never had a problem reaching someone at the office, and our questions were always answered promptly.


This is by far the best attorney for your malpractice case.

I wanted to thank Mr. Cunningham and his staff for there amazing work and dedication to my case and fighting for me when I couldn't. They truly were amazing and always kept my family and I updated on everything that was happening.

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