The Potential Health Effects of Involuntary Seclusion on Nursing Home Resident

Many nursing homes in the U.S. offer quality care to their residents, but many do not and the symptoms of abuse or neglect may be very subtle but no less profoundly destructive to residents’ well-being. If you are the family member of someone who is a nursing home resident and you suspect they may be the victim of abuse or neglect, it’s important that you act quickly. By taking proactive measures now, you may save the life of your loved one. It begins with calmly addressing your concerns with the nursing home staff and management. If they do not respond in a way that puts your concerns to rest, or if your loved one has been measurably harmed, contact a lawyer who focuses on nursing homes or elderly law.

Understanding the Effects of Involuntary Seclusion on an Individual
Not all forms of neglect or abuse are physical. Some are emotional or non-physical, but no less devastating. Some forms of neglect are physical as well as non-physical, or the abuse begins as non-physical but triggers physical health conditions. Everyone is different in how they react to involuntary seclusion, but it is not healthy for anyone.

Involuntary seclusion, also known as social isolation, can greatly impact a resident’s psychological or mental health. This form of mistreatment is not an uncommon one, but the symptoms can be hard for visiting friends and family members to detect. However, when someone is forced to be alone for a long length of time, they may feel isolated, defeated, alone, and as if no one loves them anymore, not even their family. When staff members are overworked, they may leave a resident for too long on their own, or they force the resident to be on their own, without contact with anyone. A staff member may simply do this because they are abusive. In other words, involuntary seclusion is seclusion forced on the resident and is not acceptable for any reason.

Examples of Involuntary Seclusion in a Nursing Home
As mentioned, involuntary seclusion comes in many forms, not all of which may be immediately apparent to visiting loved ones who are residents of nursing homes. Here are several examples of this:

  • Using a drug with the intent of sedating the nursing home resident into a compliant state, and without the express consent of the resident.
  • Physically limiting the movement and mobility of a resident by using restraints.
  • Preventing the resident from having contact with those outside the facility by blocking their ability to use the telephone, receive mail, email, texting, or social media communications.
  • Confining the resident to one area of the facility whether that be their bedroom or another location, where they will be alone and unable to interact with other residents.

Symptoms of Involuntary Seclusion in a Nursing Home
Your loved one may react to involuntary seclusion in a way that is different from how someone else may react. Common symptoms related to involuntary seclusion include anxiety, depression, unexpected changes in behavior, acting withdrawn around staff, and agitation.

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer, like a nursing home abuse lawyer in Longwood, FL, if your loved one is experiencing neglect or abuse.



Thanks to David & Philpot, PL for their insight into some of the health effects of involuntary seclusion in a nursing home.