Protect loved ones from nursing home negligence in Oregon
As some people grow older, their medical and daily living needs may change, requiring them to reside in an Oregon nursing home or assisted living facility. These facilities provide constant medical care to those who have ongoing physical or mental conditions. Due to their frail nature, many of these elderly residents are susceptible to physical, mental, verbal and sexual abuse by employees or other residents at the facility. According to HelpGuide.org, a non-profit website dedicated to elder abuse and neglect education, over 500,000 reports of elder abuse are filed each year across the country, though millions more go unreported.
Types of elder abuse
Abuse of a senior citizen goes beyond causing physical harm. In addition to physical abuse, such as hitting, rough handling, striking or pinching, the following behaviors can also be described as abusive and neglectful, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services:
- Causing unreasonable and needless pain or discomfort.
- Failing to provide basic services or care, resulting in harm, discomfort or loss of dignity.
- Improper use of restraints.
- Using authority to demand a person to do something against their will or using verbal threats to intimidate them into doing something they normally would not do.
- Financial exploitation or taking a resident’s personal property, medication or money.
- Verbally or mentally abusing a patient.
Oregon law requires anyone who suspects an elderly person is being abused to report it to law enforcement immediately. The person who initiates the complaint on behalf of the defenseless elderly victim is protected against any retaliation from an employer or facility.
How to identify elder abuse
According to HelpGuide.org, friends, family members and employees of long-term care communities are urged to keep an eye out for the signs of elder abuse and report any suspicions of nursing home negligence to law enforcement. One key sign of abuse is a dramatic change in a patient’s personality. If the resident suddenly becomes quiet and timid, one may want to do some further investigating. Although signs of injuries, including scars, bruises, or welts may be common in some elderly patients who suffer from certain chronic conditions, consistent injuries on multiple areas of the body are not common and should be reported. Speaking crossly to a patient or belittling them is considered abusive behavior as well and may accompany other types of abuse.
When to contact a legal professional
People who have been victimized by those they trust should contact a malpractice attorney. Not only is it important to stop the abuse from occurring, but filing charges may keep the perpetrator from harming others as well.