Everyone must be an advocate against abuse
Elder abuse is a very real concern both in Taylor County and around the country.
Fortunately here in Taylor County, there are services to help people learn more about elder abuse to help with prevention and services for victims of abuse.
Adult Protective Services (APS) is a service provided by Taylor County to be able to help individuals 18 and older who may have a physical or cognitive disability. They also provide support for elderly individuals who may be experiencing abuse in their homes.
Adult Protective Services include the following:
• Identification of individuals in need of services
• Counseling and referral for services- behavioral healthboth mental health and substance use, grief counseling
• Coordination of services for individuals- includes in home, transportation
• Tracking and follow-up
• Social services -benefits such as insurance
• Case management
• Working with family, caregivers, facilities to ensure the person has what they need
• Referral to ADRC or COA.
• Legal counseling or referral • Guardianship (of person) referral
• Diagnostic evaluation APS provides short-term case management; however, if the court system is involved, a longer time frame must be used until the case is closed. It only takes one complaint of abuse, for the APS to take action. With that said, they are the step before the court system gets involved. The court doesn’t get involved unless the APS gives them a complaint first.
To get a case filed, all it takes is one complaint from an individual to get an investigation started against the facility.
Taylor Reinhardt, APS case manager, states that “Self-neglect is the primary concern in rural communities.”
To consider someone as an ‘Adult at Risk’ is an individual 18-59 years of age who have a physical or mental condition that impairs the ability to care for their needs and who has experienced, is experiencing, or is at the risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. An ‘Elder at Risk’ is someone who is of age 60 years or older, experiencing these same issues.
The common types of abuse are:
• Physical abuse- intentional or reckless infliction of physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
• Emotional abuse- language or behavior that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to intimidate, humiliate, threaten, frighten, or otherwise harass the individual to whom the conduct or language is directed.
• Sexual abuse- sexual contact or intercourse with another person with out consent (a violation of criminal assault law)
• Treatment without consent- the administration of medication or the performance of psychosurgery, electro-convulsive therapy, or experimental research on an individual who has not provided informed consent, what the knowledge that no lawful authority exists for the administration or performance.
• Unreasonable confinement or restraint- the intentional and unnecessary confi nement of an individual in a locked room, involuntary separation from his or her living area, use of physical restraints, or the provision of unnecessary or excessive medication. (Note: This does not include the use of these methods or devices if they conform with state and federal standards governing confinement and restraint).
• Neglect- the failure of a caregiver, as evidenced by an act, omission, or course of conduct, to endeavor to secure or maintain adequate care, services, or supervision for an individual, including food, clothing, shelter, or physical or mental health care, and creating significant risk, or danger to the individual’s physical or mental health. “Neglect” does not include a decision that is made to not seek medical care for an individual, if that decision is consistent with the individual’s previously executed declaration to do-not-resuscitate order under Chapter 154, a power of attorney for health care under Chapter 155, or as otherwise authorized by law.
• Self-neglect- a significant danger to an individual’s physical or mental health because the individual is responsible for his or her own care, but fails to obtain adequate care, including food, shelter, clothing, medical, or dental care.
• Financial Exploitation 1. Obtaining an individual’s money or property by deceiving or enticing the individual.
2. Forcing, compelling, or coercing an individual to give, sell at less than fair market value, or in other ways transfer money or property against their will without informed consent.
3. Theft 4. The substantial failure or neglect of a fiscal agent to fulfill his or her responsibilities.
5. Unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information or documents.
6. Unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents.
7. Forgery 8. Financial transaction card crimes A caregiver is a person who has taken responsibility for all or part of an individual’s care.
“The most common claims that are memory or cognitive impairment with behavioral exacerbations, caregiver burnout, financial exploitation, and not having power of attorney or ‘substitute decision maker’ paperwork complete,” said Jen Meyer, Clinical Services Coordinator at Taylor County Human Services.
Meyer, said that their office didn’t feel the impact of the Covid- 19 pandemic until August 2020 came around.
Services were more in need then because individuals were in isolation for so long. Theirmentalbehaviorhealth was different, they weren’t to the doctor, they didn’t have their medications.”
Meyer said “Most of my clients are receptive to services because they understand the need. The only time when clients can be withdrawn from the help, is when neglect is a factor.”
The steps to get the help they need are: 1. Call 715-748-3332 (Taylor County Human Services Department) 2. Ask for the general intake office 3. Give basic information about the individual 4. Who are you calling about (relationship to the individual) **Caller can remain anonymous To report abuse in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, contact the Division of Quality Assurance at (414) 2272005.