November 15, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The choice to have an elderly loved one move into a nursing home is one of the hardest decisions a family will have to make. Thankfully, most nursing homes in Oregon are dedicated to providing excellent care in a safe and nurturing environment.
Unfortunately, though, this isn't a universal truth. Some Oregon nursing homes don't care for their residents like they should, often because they are understaffed or because they are prioritizing profits over patient safety. Moreover, even in the most well-respected homes, one or two overstressed or disgruntled caregivers can put patients' health and welfare at significant risk.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take a number of different forms. Physical injuries are just one type. Elder abuse also includes neglectful care, social isolation, sexual harassment or abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and anything else that robs nursing home patients of their health, safety or dignity.
Many nursing home residents do not admit that they are being abused or neglected, often because they are ashamed, afraid or too ill or disabled to express their concern. If your loved one is living in a nursing home, the most helpful thing you can do is to visit regularly and keep an eye out for signs of abuse and neglect. Don't be afraid to ask direct questions of your loved one and his or her caregivers.
Some of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include the following:
- Physical wounds like bruises, cuts, burns or grip marks
- Bed sores, rashes or skin discoloration
- Injuries or symptoms that seem incompatible with the person's underlying health condition
- Dehydration, malnutrition or unexplained weight loss
- Dirty clothes or bed linens
- Unexplained changes in the person's attitude, personality or emotional state (especially fear, aggression or sadness)
- Infections or other medical conditions that are not promptly treated
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Oregon
These are just a few of the indicators of nursing home abuse and neglect. If there is even a slight concern that your loved one is being mistreated, say something. It is always better to speak up than to risk letting the problem become worse. After all, the consequences of nursing home abuse and neglect can include serious catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
In Oregon, anyone who suspects elder abuse or neglect can file a claim with their local Department of Human Services or law enforcement office. Oregon law provides protections for individuals making good faith reports of suspected abuse; identities will remain confidential in most cases, and anonymous reports are allowed.
After a report is made, state and local agencies will investigate the claim to determine what protective and corrective steps should be taken. If warranted, law enforcement will be brought in to pursue criminal charges.
Oregon Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuits
In addition, victims of nursing home abuse or neglect can pursue lawsuits to hold negligent or abusive caregivers and facilities responsible for their actions. These lawsuits are most effective when they are handled by experienced attorneys who can gather the evidence necessary to hold the nursing home accountable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect a Portland personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights.