Your Legal Duty – Reporting Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Part 1


[music playing]>>SHIRLEY: My mother’s name was Eva Marie
Cane. She was a very vibrant woman when she was younger. She was a homemaker. She raised
four children, was a good mother, was a very loving mother. When I made the decision to
move her closer to me, she was 76 years old at that time, she was a wanderer – as most
Alzheimer patients are – and had become incontinent, had lost her voice. She could
barely mutter “yes” or “no”. So, I made a decision to move her to a home in Sacramento.
She was there for 32 days and ultimately died. I don’t think that she died because of the
Alzheimer’s. I don’t think that she died because of old age. My mother died as a result of
the care that she was given in this nursing home that she was in for a mere 32 days. [music
transition]>>ELDERLY MAN: I want to go home. Let me go
home. Give back my keys. I want to go home. Give me, give me my keys. I want to go home.
Where are my keys? I want to go home. You, you took my keys. Give me my keys. Just let
me go home. No, no, don’t put me in here. Home! No, no, don’t put me in here. No! I
want to go home! [screaming] Let me go home! Home! Let me out of here! Let me out! [music
transition]>>MALE NARRATOR: As a mandated reporter of
elder and dependent adult abuse, you are in a unique position. You are the person who
is entrusted with the day-to-day health and welfare of some of the most vulnerable among
us. But beyond that, you are responsible to help protect these special people from anyone
who would abuse them.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: Abuse, neglect or violence
of any kind is illegal and should never be a part of any caregiving situation. California
law requires this training so that you will fully understand your legal duties and better
provide the care and protection that the residents of your facility deserve. [music transition]>>ELDERLY WOMAN: Just need a little help here!
I just need some help. Don’t take my button away. Don’t take my button away. Oh! [music
transition]>>MALE NARRATOR: They are silent crimes – hidden
crimes – and, sadly, crimes that affect millions of victims and their families.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: To help protect elders
and dependent adults, California law requires that certain individuals are mandated to report
incidents of known or suspected abuse.>>TOM DAHILL: A lot of people don’t realize
they are mandated reporters. Those that call us are normally those that are concerned with
the outcome or with the welfare of the residents within the facilities. When they find out
they are a mandated reporter, that’s usually a double shock to them.>>WILLIAM YOSHIMOTO: Ignorance of the law
is no excuse, and that’s true in this case. If you do not know that you should report,
I am going to say you should have known. You know, there’s plenty of training available.
It is your responsibility to find out what the laws are and then be a responsible reporter.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: As a mandated reporter,
it is your individual legal duty to report all known or suspected abuse of elders and
dependent adults.>>MARK ZAHNER: Reporting responsibilities
under the law are individual. If there is a particular policy within the institution
in which you work, and it requires you to report to a certain person, that’s fine. They
can have any kind of policy they want for reporting so long as it doesn’t interfere
with your individual obligation to report. If that incident isn’t reported, then you
– the person who had the obligation to report – could be in trouble. You could be charged
with a crime.>>LARRY MENDARD: All employees of a facility
are required to report abuse, and that means the janitor or a cook – who just happens to
be walking down a hall and witnesses abuse – are mandated to report it. Now, remember,
as a mandated reporter, you must report if: (1) you have been told of an incident by an
elder or a dependent adult; (2) you have observed or have knowledge of an incident that reasonably
appears to be abuse; or (3) you reasonably suspect that an
incident has occurred.>>MALE NARRATOR: Simply put, you are a mandated
reporter, and it is your individual legal duty to report known or suspected incidents
of abuse. [end Part 1]>>MALE ORDERLY: We’re leaving you here while
we take care of your room.>>ELDERLY WOMAN: Ahhh! [head bangs]>>WOMAN: Are you okay? [music transition]>>FEMALE NARRATOR: As a mandated reporter,
the first thing you need to know is that elders, dependent adults, or adults with disabilities
are all protected by California’s mandated reporter law. [music transition] Physical abuse includes hitting, biting, kicking,
slapping, pinching, rape, incest, sodomy, or the withholding of food and water. It also
includes any unreasonable restraint by physical or chemical means. Overmedication, undermedication,
or the withholding of medication is also abuse. Possible signs of physical abuse can include
unusual scratches, skin tears, bruises or welts. Also, any injuries caused by biting,
cutting, pinching or twisting of limbs. Additionally, burns or blistering and torn or bloody undergarments
are indicators.>>WILLIAM YOSHIMOTO: You know, there are many
physical abuse cases that we prosecute. One involved a worker in a facility. That facility
worker actually struck the patient. The patient revealed this to another worker who, in turn,
made a report, and that’s how we found out about that case and were able to prosecute.>>MALE NARRATOR: Neglect is another form of
abuse you must report. It is defined as the failure to assist in personal hygiene or provide
food. Neglect also includes failure to provide medical care and the failure to protect a
resident from health and safety hazards. Some indicators of neglect can be soiled linen
or clothing, untreated skin disorders or rashes, neglected bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition,
unkempt or dirty appearance, and failure to provide dentures, hearing aids, eyeglasses,
or medication.>>MARK ZAHNER: There was a case that involved
patients who were suffering from dehydration due to extreme heat exposure. A facility person
reported that patients were suffering. They felt that is was wrong. They felt that this
was an abusive situation and, because of that, law enforcement responded. Emergency medical
teams all responded. When that was reported, that greatly facilitated stopping the suffering
of… I dont’ know how many other patients if the condition would have continued on!>>FEMALE NARRATOR: Financial abuse can be
just as serious as other forms of abuse. It can remove all the safety and comfort that
the victim has and puts them in a position of far greater vulnerability. Indicators can
include the disappearance of papers or checkbooks, staff members assisting with credit card purchases
or ATM withdrawals, lack of grooming items or clothing, staff using residents’ personal
items, and bills left unpaid when funds are available.>>SOPHIA MC BETH-CHILDS: I had a case of an
elderly female who lived in a long-term care facility, and she had allowed one of the workers
there to cash checks for her. When she finally got her bank statement, she recognized there
was more activity in the account than she had authorized. She confided in another employee
at the facility, who then reported that to us. The conclusion of this case was that
the mandated reporter acted appropriately and did what they were supposed to do, started
the ball rolling, got law enforcement involved, and the victim got justice because the suspect
was arrested.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: Other forms of reportable
abuse are isolation – acts that keep a resident from receiving mail, phone calls, or contact
with family, friends and other concerned individuals – and abandonment: the deserting of an elder
or dependent adult. One other form of abuse you need to know about doesn’t involve staff
or family. It is resident-to-resident abuse.>>DIANA BOUTIN: Resident-to-resident abuse
is when one resident in a facility abuses another resident in the same facility in any
way, whether it’s physical, mental or financial.>>MALE NARRATOR: As with all other forms of
abuse, resident-to-resident abuse is illegal and must be reported.>>DIANA BOUTIN: Staff in facilities are reluctant
to report resident-to-resident abuse partially because they do not understand that it has
to be reported, and they think that abuse is only reportable if it’s a staff person or
possibly a family member that’s abusing the patient.>>MARK ZAHNER: These patients are very frail
typically. They have a lot of medical issues, and just simply being pushed over or pushed
out of bed, or pushed in the shower, or something like that, can be life-threatening. And so
that has to be a consideration of the staff when they’re looking at resident-on-resident
abuse.>>MALE NARRATOR: Remember, all residents in
your facility are protected by California’s mandated reporter law. No matter what form
the abuse takes, and whether it is intentional or unintentional, abuse is illegal and must
be reported. [end Part 2]

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