Elder abuse under the microscope amid Junction City case

The alleged events that have unfolded in Junction City have shed light on a much larger problem -- the lack of care provided to people who can't always speak up for themselves.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 6:27 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 6:33 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The alleged events that have unfolded in Junction City have shed light on a much larger problem -- the lack of care provided to people who can't always speak up for themselves -- and according to advocates for the elderly, nothing is being done about it.


Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living

"My father-in-law was standing there in a diaper, no blankets, nothing in his room, and his mouth was stuck together it was so dry," said Lori Benedict-Potter, whose father stayed at the Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living Community.

And family are not the only ones speaking out.

"I found a lot of errors that there wasn't medication given -- they were signed, but they weren't popped from the medication card, and there were no reprecussions, there were no med error forms filled out," said Maggie Swartzendruber, who used to work there.

Swartzendruber said she was fired after a conversation with a coworker where they were discussing the negligence in the facility.

And the Junction City facility isn't alone in reported shortcomings.

"You dial a number and then all of a sudden you get a recording. Then I called Lane County and I got similar or the same recording, saying that there was no one available to take my call so call back at some other hour, or call 911," said Oregon state Sen. James Manning about a time when he tried to report elder abuse.

Manning had to call 911 to report elder abuse because his calls were not answered.

In 2017 the Department of Human Services substantiated adult abuse in 4,720 different cases in Oregon, both in facilities and in the community.

DHS has a hotline to report child and elder abuse.

KEZI reached out to DHS to find out what happens after they receive those reports and here is their statement:

"Once a phone call is routed, callers will be asked what they observed, what the concerns are and if the person the caller is concerned about has shared any information.

"Adult protective services, which is part of the Oregon Department of Human Services Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD), will then follow up from the report.

"In addition in the Safeline, APD maintains additional phone lines and email addresses for reporting licensing violations and abuse complaints that are specific to licensed long-term care facilities. Voicemail messages may be left on any of these lines.

"Complaints about licensed nursing facilities may be reported to 1-877-280-4555 or by email at nf.complaints@dhsoha.state.or.us; it is a federal requirement that nursing facilities have a dedicated complaint line and abuse investigation staff. Complaints about assisted living, residential care and adult foster homes may made by calling 1-844-503-4773 or sending an email to licensing.complaint@state.or.us."

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