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Definitions of Elder Abuse and Neglect
 
Elder abuse is a growing problem. While we don't know all of the details about why abuse occurs or how to stop its spread, we do know that help is available for victims. Concerned people, like you, can spot the warning signs of a possible problem, and make a call for help if an elder is in need of assistance.

Definitions of the different types of abuse and neglect as defined by law:
 
 

 

Physical abuse

 The basics
 
Means the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (a). 
 
More information
 
Physical abuse is any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.
 
Conduct that may be considered physical abuse includes but is not limited to: (i) Acts of violence such as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, punching, shoving, shaking, kicking, pinching, choking, or burning; or (ii) The use of force-feeding or physical punishment.
 
Physical abuse is presumed to cause physical injury, including pain, to adults in a coma or adults otherwise incapable of expressing injury or pain.
 
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Neglect

The basics
 
Neglect means the failure to provide basic necessary care or services when such failure may lead to physical or emotional harm or serious loss of personal dignity. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (b).  
 
More information
 
Neglect means active or passive failure to provide the care, supervision, or services necessary to maintain the physical health and emotional well-being of an adult that creates a risk of serious harm or results in physical harm, significant emotional harm or unreasonable discomfort, or serious loss of personal dignity.
 
The expectation for care, supervision, or services may exist as a result of an assumed responsibility or a legal or contractual agreement, including but not limited to where an individual has a fiduciary responsibility to assure the continuation of necessary care.
 
Failure of an individual who is responsible to provide care or services to make a reasonable effort to protect an adult from abuse.
 
An elderly person who in good faith is voluntarily under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner shall, for this reason alone, not be considered subjected to abuse by reason of neglect as defined in these rules.
 
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Self neglect

 The basics
 
Self neglect is the inability of a person to understand the consequences of his or her actions or inaction when that inability leads to or may lead to harm or endangerment to self or others. Learn more at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (30).
 


Abandonment

 The basics
 
Abandonment is desertion or willfully leaving an adult alone by a caregiver that would place the adult in serious risk of harm. It is a specific form of neglect. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (c). 

 
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Verbal or emotional abuse

 The basics
 
Verbal or emotional abuse is the intentional infliction of anguish, distress or intimidation through verbal or non‑verbal acts or denial of personal rights. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (d). 
 
More information
 
Verbal or emotional abuse includes threatening significant physical harm or threatening or causing significant emotional harm to an adult through the use of: derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity, or ridicule; or harassment, coercion, threats, intimidation, humiliation, mental cruelty, or inappropriate sexual comments.
 
Conduct that may be considered verbal or emotional abuse includes but is not limited to the use of oral, written, or gestured communication that is directed to an adult or within their hearing distance, regardless of their ability to comprehend.
 
The emotional harm that may result from verbal or emotional abuse includes but is not limited to anguish, distress, fear, unreasonable emotional discomfort, loss of personal dignity, or loss of autonomy.
 
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Financial exploitation 

The basics
 
Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use, by means including but not limited to deceit, theft, coercion, fraud, or undue influence, of an adult's resources (including medications). More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (e).
 
The Attorney General's office also has a consumer hotline for financial fraud issues. 
 
More information
 
Financial exploitation means wrongfully taking, by means including but not limited to deceit, trickery, subterfuge, coercion, harassment, duress, fraud, or undue influence, the assets, funds, property, or medications belonging to or intended for the use of an adult;
 
Alarming an adult by conveying a threat to wrongfully take or appropriate money or property of the adult if the adult would reasonably believe that the threat conveyed would be carried out;
 
Misappropriating or misusing any money from any account held jointly or singly by an adult; or
 
Failing to use income or assets of an adult for the benefit, support, and maintenance of the adult.
 

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Sexual abuse

The basics
 
Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, inappropriate sexual comments, and threats. These activities are considered non‑consensual if the person does not make, or is incapable of making an informed choice. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (f). 

More information
 
Sexual abuse is sexual contact with a non-consenting adult or with an adult considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act. Consent, for purposes of this definition, means a voluntary agreement or concurrence of wills. Mere failure to object does not, in and of itself, constitute an expression of consent; further, sexual abuse is:
 
Sexual harassment or sexual exploitation of an adult or inappropriately exposing an adult to, or making an adult the subject of, sexually explicit material or language;
 
Any sexual contact between an employee or volunteer of a facility or caregiver and an adult served by the facility or caregiver, unless a pre-existing relationship existed. Sexual abuse does not include consensual sexual contact between an adult and a caregiver who is the spouse or domestic partner of the adult;
 
Any sexual contact that is achieved through force, trickery, threat, or coercion; or
An act that constitutes a crime under ORS 163.375, 163.405, 163.411, 163.415, 163.425, 163.427, 163.465, 163.467, or 163.525 except for incest due to marriage alone.
 

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Involuntary seclusion

The basics
 
Involuntary seclusion means confinement, restriction, or isolation of an adult for the convenience of a caregiver or to discipline the adult. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (g). 
 
More information
 
Involuntary seclusion may include: Confinement or restriction of an adult to his or her room or a specific area; or placing restrictions on an adult's ability to associate, interact, or communicate with other individuals.
 
In a facility, emergency or short-term, monitored separation from other residents may be permitted if used for a limited period of time when: used as part of the care plan after other interventions have been attempted; used as a de-escalating intervention until the facility can evaluate the behavior and develop care plan interventions to meet the resident's needs; or the resident needs to be secluded from certain areas of the facility when their presence in that specified area would pose a risk to health or safety.

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Wrongful restraint

The basics
 
Wrongful restraint means the use of physical (i.e. tying, holding) or chemical (i.e. sedation) means to limit the movement of an adult for the convenience or discipline of the caregiver. More at Oregon Administrative Rule 411-020-0002 (1) (h). 
 
More information
 
A wrongful use of a physical or chemical restraint includes situations where: (i) A licensed health professional has not conducted a thorough assessment prior to implementing a licensed physician's prescription for restraint; (ii) Less restrictive alternatives have not been evaluated prior to the use of the restraint; or (iii) The restraint is used for convenience or discipline.
 
Physical restraints may be permitted if used when a resident's actions present an imminent danger to self or others and only until immediate action is taken by medical, emergency, or police personnel.
 
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