Elder Abuse

Persons Who Must Report Elderly Abuse in Oregon

Elder abuse cases in Oregon have steadily grown in recent years, from 30,000 reported cases in 2013 to 38,000 in 2014. As the median resident age in the state rises, the elderly population in Oregon is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2010 to 2020.

In its handbook on Oregon Elderly Abuse Reporting Requirements, the Oregon State Bar shared that 31% of reported elder abuse cases consisted of financial abuse and exploitation, followed by elderly neglect at 29%, verbal abuse at 21%, physical abuse at 14%, and sexual abuse at 2% of all cases.

What Is Financial Exploitation?

Oregon Revised Statutes Section 124.050 (4) considers any of the following acts as financial exploitation in connection with elderly abuse:

  • Wrongfully taking property, assets or funds of an elderly
  • Failing to use income or assets effectively for the support and maintenance of the elderly
  • Misappropriating, misusing, or transferring any money belonging to the elderly without authorization
  • Alarming an elderly through threats that the elderly person would reasonably believe.

Neglect

ORS 124.050(7) mentions neglect as another form of elder abuse. This involves the failure to provide basic care or services that an elderly person needs for their health and safety. Neglect can take place at home or at licensed care facilities.

Mandatory Reporting Requirement

An adult protective services worker in Clatsop County recently reported that many elder abuse cases that have been reported involved financial exploitation or scams where the trust of the victim is often abused. Legislators sought to address the growing cases of financial abuse of elderly and disabled persons through a recent requirement for certain professionals to report suspected cases of abuse.

Starting January 1, 2015, attorneys, police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals now have the mandatory duty to report if they have:

  • Reasonable cause to believe
  • Abuse of a person 65 years or older has occurred
  • Contact with an elder person or abuser
  • Importance of personal injury attorney

Elder abuse may not only harm the victim physically, but can also put them in emotional suffering as they live in fear, shame, and embarrassment and are generally unable to, or fearful of, reporting their situation until severe harm or damage has set in.

If a loved one is exploited or neglected in any way that may be constitute elder abuse, it’s best to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately about it. Your lawyer can evaluate the situation and determine whether elderly abuse has occurred and identify the responsible parties. Indeed, there are severe financial penalties that the abused party can take advantage of, and which most lawyers are unaware.  This includes a provision in the Oregon Abuse of Vulnerable Persons Act that provides for triple the acutal assessed damages, and an award for that party’s attorney fees and costs, should they prevail on that claim.

In Portland, Oregon, the attorneys at Dwyer WilliamsDretke, PC have over 75 years of collective personal injury experience, including elder abuse cases. We fight very hard for the rights of our elderly clients, to ensure that they are not only protected but also obtain the compensation that they legally deserve.

We invite you to call us today at (541) 617-0555 for a free case evaluation.

Largest Facility in California Sued for Nursing Home Neglect

California’s largest chain of nursing homes is facing a lawsuit for elder abuse and nursing home neglect which resulted in the death of a patient in 2014. The case is only one of several complaints affecting other nursing home facilities operated by the same owner, including some on Oregon.

Case of Nursing Home Neglect

The lawsuit alleged that an elderly female patient was admitted to the facility in Los Angeles for rehabilitative care after she was hospitalized for chest pains. The complaint further alleged that the patient was admitted in good condition and had clear lungs.

Five weeks later, the patient was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. She had pneumonia, was dehydrated, and her body temperature was lower than 80 degrees. Doctors at the hospital suspected nursing home neglect which led to the death of the patient.

Investigation of the premises where the patient last stayed indicated nursing home neglect. A hidden camera recorded patients moaning without receiving any attention, and investigators said the center smelled like human waste.

Incidence of Nursing Home Neglect

Unfortunately, Oregon is no stranger to nursing home abuse, either.  Indeed, elder abuse is a widespread and growing problem in the United States. It occurs frequently in institutional settings such as nursing homes and other long term care centers. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.4 million elderly residents in nursing facilities and long term care centers.

The National Ombudsman Reporting Systems (NORS) showed that there were approximately 14,258 complaints of abuse, gross neglect and exploitation reports involving elderly nursing home residents. It is believed that many more incidents are unreported.

Nursing home neglect can have disastrous consequences on a patient who is often unable to communicate abuse or neglect to family or authorities. Many instances of neglect can lead to serious injuries such as fractures, broken bones, infections, malnutrition, and pneumonia which can be fatal to already weak and frail elderly persons.

If a loved one exhibits symptoms of nursing home neglect or you have reason to believe abuse or neglect of a loved one, taking immediate action against neglect or abuse can help save your loved one, and preserve their dignity. Speak to your personal injury attorney immediately about your situation. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and guide you through the process of fighting for your relative’s rights.

In Portland, Oregon, the law firm of Dwyer WilliamsDretke, PC has been helping injured clients and their families obtain justice for abused elderly who suffer nursing home neglect.

We welcome your call now at (541) 617-0555 to speak to a friendly attorney about your situation.

Jail Time for Nursing Home Employees in Medford NY

nursing home abuse caseIn a recent verdict in New York, two respiratory therapists and three registered nurses were sentenced to jail time for their involvement of the death of one of  their patients.  Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not an uncommon occurrence.  And while it is good to see those that perpetrate this crime punished, it goes to show that you must be vigilant in determining who cares for your elderly family members.  Here are more details of the case.

The defendants were sentenced to varying terms after being found guilty at trial in July in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead for their roles in the 2012 death of a 72-year-old rehabilitation patientand for their attempted cover-up of the circumstances that led to her death.

“The sentences announced today bring justice to the family of Aurelia Rios, the mother of three and the grandmother of eleven,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Medical staff at Medford Multicare undertook the responsibility to care for Mrs. Rios and help her rehabilitate.  Instead, the juries found that she was neglected and that the Defendants covered-up the true cause of her death, depriving the Rios family for almost three years the truth about what happened to their mother.  This trial has put an end to the lies about what happened at Medford Multicare and is another example of how my office will continue to hold accountable those who neglect and those who fail to immediately and truthfully report the neglect of our most vulnerable citizens.” Long Island News, Long Island News and PR

Poor leadership, low morale, and inconsistent training often play a role in nursing home abuse cases.  It’s important to do your due diligence when selecting a home for your loved ones.  AARP has put together a great article that you can use a reference.  It includes everything from the way a home looks and smells, to signs that residents are being abused or mistreated.  You can read the article here.

If you suspect that your loved one has been subject to abuse DO NOT hesitate confront them with your issues.  If they don’t respond appropriately then you should immediately hire an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse cases.

 

Dedicated Elder Abuse Prosecutor Sought for Oregon

An increase in elder abuse cases in Oregon has prompted the search for a dedicated prosecutor and two investigators for the state. Approximately 30,000 reports of elder abuse were made in Oregon in 2013 alone.

Elder abuse is particularly serious, and something that can often go unnoticed. As families leave their elderly loved ones in the care of home healthcare providers and nursing homes, they trust that their senior family members will receive the utmost care. However, the figures show that abuse happens every day, and its effects can be seen in a variety of ways – from physical and emotional damage, through to impact on the elder’s finances and assets.

The Difficulty Behind Proving Elder Abuse Cases

According to Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, elder abuse cases can often be challenging to prosecute. This is because the perpetrators of these crimes can be the victim’s family members, or have a close relationship with the victim. They may be a home healthcare provider, or a nursing home facility.

Elderly victims can be slow to realize that they are being harmed by a person or facility to whom their care is entrusted. This can impede an investigation and result in the victim being reluctant to assist a prosecutor. He or she may feel they have no-one else to care for them. It is also particularly difficult where the victim may have a form of dementia or memory problems, making it difficult for them to accurately remember what happened, or that anything happened at all.

Oregon at the Forefront of Protecting Seniors

Together with stakeholder organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Elders in Action, and the Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman, the Oregon Attorney General has been working to secure resources that will help to manage the volume of elder abuse cases.

If the new prosecutor and investigators are hired, Oregon would be just the second state in the country to have a prosecutor dedicated to investigating these types of cases – great news for current and potential future victims.

Consult an Elder Abuse Attorney

If you have an elderly loved one who has been the victim abuse, it is important to take immediate steps to secure their safety, and seek compensation to help with their recovery.

Our attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke have been handling elder abuse cases for many years, and we know that this can be an emotionally challenging and distressing time for both the victim and his or her family. We approach each case with diligence, professionalism and compassion.

For a free initial consultation, we welcome your call to our office at (541) 617-0555.