Protecting residents against abuse, neglect and financial exploitation

One of the top reasons why seniors move into assisted living facilities is the comfort of safety and peace
of mind. Unfortunately, there are times when a resident is placed in a situation where that safety is
taken away in the form of abuse or neglect. Although facilities do their best to vet employees and
ensure they are hiring people they can entrust with the care of their residents there are ultimately times
when a less than respectable person slips through the cracks. If a resident in your facility is expected to
have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation you must adhere to the following regulation
provided by OHCQ:

.36 Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation.

A. An assisted living program shall develop and implement policies and procedures prohibiting abuse, neglect,
and financial exploitation of residents.

B. An assisted living program may not knowingly employ an individual who has any criminal conviction or other
a criminal history that indicates a behavior that is potentially harmful to residents, documented through either a criminal
history records check or a criminal background check.

C. Reports of Abuse, Neglect, or Financial Exploitation.
(1) A licensee or employee of an assisted living program who has witnessed, or otherwise has reason to believe,
that a resident has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation shall report the alleged abuse, neglect,
or exploitation within 24 hours to:
(a) The appropriate local department of social services, Adult Protective Services Program; and
(b) One or more of the following:
(i) A local law enforcement agency;
(ii) The Office of Health Care Quality of the Department;
(iii) A representative of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in the Department of Aging or local
area agency on aging.
(2) If one of the agencies listed in §C(1)(b) of this regulation receives a report, that recipient shall notify:
(a) The other parties referred to in §C(1)(b) of this regulation; and
(b) The assisted living manager unless the assisted living manager is believed to be involved with the abuse,
neglect, or exploitation.
(3) A licensee or an employee may be subject to a penalty imposed by the Secretary of up to $1,000 for failing
to make a report required by §C(1) of this regulation within 3 days after learning of the alleged abuse, neglect, or
exploitation.(4) A person aggrieved by the action of the Secretary under §C of this regulation may appeal the Secretary’s
action by filing a request for a hearing in accordance with Regulation .64 of this chapter.

D. Investigations. An assisted living program shall:
(1) Thoroughly investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and maintain on-site written
documentation of the investigation; and
(2) Take appropriate action to prevent further incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation while the investigation
is in progress.

E. Investigation Reports.
(1) The licensee or any government agency that investigates the abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall send a
report to:
(a) The Office of Health Care Quality;
(b) The appropriate law enforcement agency; and
(c) The Department of Aging, or local area agency on aging.
(2) The entities set forth in §E(1) of this regulation may make a referral, if appropriate, to:
(a) The State’s attorney’s office; or
(b) The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Criminal Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

F. Immunity from Civil Liability. An individual who, acting in good faith, makes a report under this regulation
has immunity from liability as described in Health-General Article, §19-347(g), Annotated Code of Maryland.

G. Notice. The assisted living program shall post signs that set forth the reporting requirements of §C(1) of this
regulation, conspicuously in the employee and public areas of the facility

Pro Tip:
If a resident has reported an abuse allegation you must take it seriously! Immediately contact the staff
member in question of abuse and interview them regarding their side of the situation. I also highly
suggest suspending this employee pending investigation in order to remove them from the situation
while you gather facts and continue the reporting process.