Certain professionals in Illinois are required by law to report instances of known or suspected elder abuse to Adult Protective Services. This must be done within 24-hours of the professional becoming aware of the situation. Individuals are required to report physical abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Once reported, APS will initiate an investigation and assign a caseworker to determine whether or not an individual is being abused, the extent of the abuse, etc. In life-threatening situations, they are required to respond and contact the individual who is being abused within 24 hours, 72 hours for neglect and physical abuse, and one week for emotional abuse and financial exploitation.
Caseworkers have 30 days to complete a comprehensive assessment of the situation and the individual’s health and well-being. The case will remain active for 15 months for monitoring. During this time, the caseworker will work with the individual, the caregiver, medical team, nursing home staff, and others to find a solution to end the abuse. Caregivers and caseworkers are instructed by law to find an effective solution that creates as minimal a disruption as possible to the individual.
Early Intervention is Essential
Early intervention can protect elderly individuals from physical harm, emotional abuse, and financial crimes. The earlier abuse is reported, the less damage it can cause in terms of physical health and financial stability. Intervention facilitates changes in operating procedures, training, and supervision that benefit other patients in terms of safety and quality of care. As such it is crucial for healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, and attendants, financial professionals, attorneys, etc. to recognize the physical, emotional, mental, and financial signs of abuse and take appropriate steps to protect the individuals within their care.
Pursuing Claims for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home neglect lawyers can use reports filed with Adult Protective Services as evidence when pursuing claims of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Individuals who file the report can be called upon as witnesses to testify. Moreover, those who fail to report as required to under the law can be held accountable for administrative penalties within their profession’s respective disciplinary board.