As our population ages, the most vulnerable among us have experienced increased occurrences of victimization, abuse and neglect. The statistics on elder abuse are alarming. Because of varying definitions of abuse, estimates of the number of elder abuse victims in the United States vary from 1 to 6 million. At the 6 million number, that means a case of elder abuse occurs once every five seconds.
Elder Abuse And Nursing Home Neglect In Oregon
In Oregon, there are roughly 700,000 elderly residents age 60 and over, and estimates are that nearly 10% of them have been the victim of some sort of elder abuse.
Elder abuse can take many forms, from financial to physical and emotional. Victims of elder abuse are our mothers, our fathers and our grandparents. They are family. The abuse can happen at home or in the care of someone we pay to help keep them safe. Neglect or intentional abuse can turn the twilight of someone's life into its darkest period.
Part of my practice focuses on helping the victims of physical and emotional elder abuse recover from injuries they suffer at the hands of abusers. If you or a family member has suffered financial elder abuse, I can connect you to an experienced Portland financial elder abuse attorney.
Preventing Elder Abuse
It is estimated that somewhere between 1 and 5 and 1 in 14 elder abuse incidents is reported. The best way to address elder abuse is to prevent it. I advise my clients to thoroughly vet care giving facilities, check their record for safety, check their record for reported incidents of neglect or abuse and interview the caregivers at the facility.
Call the relevant state agencies (Oregon's Long Term Care Ombudsmen: 1.800.522.2602), visit the facility and listen to your instincts. Always remember that the investigation into the appropriate level of care for your loved one does not end when you've settled on the right facility.
Detecting Elder Abuse
Even the best nursing home or care facility can potentially turn dangerous with just a single bad hire or one caregiver employee gone wrong. If your loved one-your parent, your grandparent-is in a home, staying in constant contact can help you notice the early warning signs of physical abuse:
- Unexplained bruises, welts, bed sores, scars. If they appear evenly on both sides of the body, it can indicate aggressive handling by caregivers,
- Broken bones or strains
- Torn, stained or bloody clothing
- Broken eyeglasses
- Signs of physical restraint in wrist or ankle area
- Unexplained signs of dementia, like rocking, sucking or mumbling
- Unusual weight loss
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unsanitary personal appearance
You should also be on the lookout for telltale signs in the caregiver, like a hesitance to let you see your loved one, and other inappropriate conduct.
What To Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
- An experienced Portland injury lawyer will tell you that the first step in any injury case is to seek medical treatment for injuries. If your loved one has been injured, get them help immediately.
- If you have the ability to do so, get your loved one out of the situation as quickly as possible.
- Next, report the incident to the state ombudsman. Do not let your mother or father's case of abuse be one of the millions that goes unreported. The state agency will report the case to law enforcement officials as necessary.
- Contact a Portland elder abuse attorney with experience seeking recovery from the perpetrator of the abuse.
What Is An Elder Abuse Claim?
Under Oregon law, there are a variety of claims that can be asserted by the victims of elder abuse, or in the worst case, their surviving family members.
A nursing home resident can bring an abuse claim against the owners and employees of a nursing home under Oregon's Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act. A claim against the nursing home itself can only be brought if there is a criminal conviction.
The general law on negligence provides that caregivers are responsible for negligent conduct that causes injury to the elderly. A variety of federal and state statutes and regulations set the standard of care for the conduct of nursing homes. If a nursing home has violated a statute or regulation and that violation causes injury, the nursing home can be held liable.
If elder abuse causes death, a Portland elder abuse lawyer can prosecute a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased victim.
Act Immediately To Pursue A Claim
The statute of limitations in non-death cases is, in most cases, two years from the date of the incident. That statute can be extended due to disability of the victim and failure of the family to discover the abuse in a timely manner. In a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is three years.
These strict legal timelines mean the elder abuse victim and their family must act swiftly to make the necessary reports, seek the necessary treatment, and assert a claim to protect their rights.
Contact A Portland Elder Abuse/Nursing Home Injury Lawyer
Contact Sarah Nelson, P.C., to schedule a free and confidential consultation about you or your loved one's elder abuse injuries or other accident injuries at no cost or obligation. You may call us at 503-928-8053. You may also contact us online to start talking with a Portland elder abuse lawyer.