states have laws that require professionals to report abuse.
Concerned citizens are also encouraged to report. These
laws shield reporters from liability in the event that the
report turns out to be unfounded. To learn more about state
reporting laws, click
here (by clicking here, you will leave this web
whom should I report?
state designates a lead agency or agencies to assume responsibility
for investigating abuse reports. Typically one of the following
agencies will investigate:
protective services (APS) is the primary agency to accept
reports in most states. Check your phone directory for
the APS program in your community. In most communities,
it is listed under the Department of Human Services or
enforcement is responsible for investigating abuse when
it is criminal.
care ombudsman programs are federally funded programs
that investigate reports of abuse in nursing homes and
residential care facilities.
fraud and control units: Under federal law, state Attorneys
General are required to investigate and prosecute fraud
and patient abuse or neglect in health care facilities
that participate in Medicaid.
will happen if I report?
procedures vary from state to state, a report to adult protective
service programs typically will trigger an investigation
to assess the following:
the subject of the report in imminent danger?
the person in need of emergency services to prevent injury
is the nature and extent of the abuse?
abuse likely to occur again?
is the level of risk?
the person able to make decisions about his or her care?
measures are needed to prevent future abuse and ensure
the well being of the elder or dependent adult.
answers to these questions will direct investigators' response.
In most cases, they will offer to help victims access appropriate
services. Adult protective services are voluntary. That
means that the subject of a report has the right to refuse
services (in some states, they can stop an investigation)
unless one of the following two conditions apply:
the vulnerable older person lacks sufficient mental capacity
to protect him or herself, involuntary measures, such
as protective placements, may be initiated.
a crime has been committed, police may take action.
either of these conditions applies, vulnerable persons are
free to decide whether or not they want help, and the type
of help they want.
Updated March 2003