Protecting the Vulnerable

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 HHSC:

RULE 553.102  Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation Reportable to DADS

(a) An assisted living facility staff who has cause to believe that the physical or mental health or welfare of a resident has been or may be adversely affected by abuse, neglect, or exploitation or that the resident has died due to abuse or neglect, must report the abuse, neglect, or exploitation to:

(1) DADS Consumer Rights and Services section at 1-800-458-9858 or via the DADS website; and

(2) one of the following law enforcement agencies:

(A) a municipal law enforcement agency, if the facility is located within the territorial boundaries of a municipality; or

(B) the sheriff’s department of the county in which the facility is located in the facility is not located within the territorial boundaries of a municipality.

(b) An assisted living facility must follow its internal policies regarding the prevention, detection, and reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

(c) The following information must be reported to DADS:

(1) name, age, and address of the resident;

(2) name and address of the person responsible for the care of the resident, if available;

(3) nature and extent of the elderly or disabled person’s condition;

(4) basis of the reporter’s knowledge; and

(5) any other relevant information.

(d) An assisted living facility must immediately make an oral report to DADS of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation and must investigate the allegation and send a written report of the investigation to the DADS state office no later than the fifth calendar day after the oral report.

(e) An assisted living facility may not retaliate against a person for filing a complaint, presenting a grievance, or providing in good faith information relating to personal care services provided by the facility.

(f) An assisted living facility must require facility staff, as a condition of employment with the facility, to sign a statement indicating that the employee may be criminally liable for the failure to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

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.