Law & Ethics
Elder abuse is when a caregiver seriously harms an elderly person physically or emotionally, or steals or misuses the money or property of an elderly person. Elder abuse can also be self-inflicted if an elderly person living alone doesn't take care of his or her own basic needs. Anyone age 60 or older is protected by elder abuse laws. Separate laws apply to seniors living at home, and to seniors living in nursing homes. There are no income limits for elder protective services.
Elder abuse can be:
emotional or verbal abuse
self-abuse, when a senior is living alone and doesn't properly care for him/herself
Who can report elder abuse?
Anyone can report elder abuse. If you, or a senior you know, is being abused or in danger of being abused, you should report it.
If the elder is being abused by a coworker you would report it to your nurse manager or Director of Nursing. If you suspect a family member of abuse you should report it to your superior then directly call Adult Protective Services. Some people are required by law to report elder abuse, but anyone who believes an elder is suffering or has died as a result of abuse can and should report the abuse. Seniors can even report self-abuse, if they are living alone and unable to care for themselves. Laws require doctors, nurses, podiatrists, dentists, social workers, police and other emergency responders, elder outreach workers, directors of home health agencies, and certain other workers to report elder abuse. If any of these mandated reporters knows of elder abuse and doesn't report it, that person can be fined. A mandated reporter must call to report the abuse right away,