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Client Abuse Prevention Training

Vulnerable adult abuse is a term used to describe any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. A vulnerable adult can be anyone over age 18 who: Has a physical, mental or emotional disorder that makes it difficult for the person to care for themselves without help and to protect themselves from maltreatment.

Maltreatment includes: Abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, use of restraints, involuntary seclusion or punishment. Neglect, including failure to provide necessary food, shelter, clothing, health care or supervision because of neglect by a caregiver or because the vulnerable adult cannot meet their own needs. Also, financial exploitation, including theft or withholding of money or property and/or use of money or property not for the vulnerable adult's benefit.)

This would include an individual who Is in a hospital, nursing home, transitional care unit, assisted living, housing with services, board and care, foster care or other licensed care facility, they may Receive services such as home care, day services, personal care assistance or other licensed services.

What is Vulnerable Adult Abuse?
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Physical abuse: This is when a caregiver causes any physical injury, or threatens harm or substantial injury, on a Vulnerable adult other than by accident. Physical abuse can range from minor bruises to severe internal injuries and death. 

Warning signs might include:

  • History of unexplained falls

  • Unexplained bruising - in well protected areas or soft parts of the body

  • Bruising in different stages of healing

  • Unexplained burns - unusual location / type

  • Unexplained fractures to any part of the body

  • Unexplained lacerations or abrasions

  • Slap, kick, punch or finger marks

  • Injury shape similar to an object

  • Untreated medical problems

  • Weight loss due to malnutrition or dehydration

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Sexual Abuse: is the involvement of vulnerable adults in sexual activities, which they do not fully comprehend, to which they are unable to give consent, to which they object or which may cause them harm. 

Warning signs might include:

  • Disturbed sleep pattern / poor concentration

  • Difficulty in walking

  • Torn, stained underwear

  • Love bites

  • Pain or itching, bruising or bleeding in the genital area

  • Sexually transmitted disease / urinary tract / vaginal infection

  • Bruising to upper thighs and arms

  • Frequent infection

  • Severe upset or agitation when being bathed etc.

  • Pregnancy in a person unable to consent

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Neglect: the failure or omission by a caregiver to supply a vulnerable adult with care or services that are reasonable and necessary to the vulnerable adult’s physical or mental health or safety. The absence or likelihood of absence of care or services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult

warning signs might include:

  • Poor environmental conditions

  • Inadequate heating and lighting

  • Poor physical condition of the vulnerable adult

  • Persons clothing is ill fitting, unclean and in poor condition

  • Malnutrition

  • Failure to give prescribed medication properly

  • Failure to provide appropriate privacy and dignity

  • Inconsistent or reluctant contact with health and social care agencies

  • Isolation - denying access to callers or visitors

Self Neglect: Is the act or omission by a vulnerable adult that results, or could result, in the deprivation of essential services necessary to maintain minimal mental, emotional, or physical health and safety.

warning signs might include:

  • Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated or improperly attended medical conditions, and poor personal hygiene

  • Hazardous or unsafe living conditions

  • Unsanitary or unclean living quarters (e.g., animal/insect infestation, no functioning toilet, fecal or urine smell)

  • Inappropriate and/or inadequate clothing, lack of the necessary medical aids

  • Grossly inadequate housing or homelessness

  • Inadequate medical care, not taking prescribed medications properly

Neglect is the most common

form of maltreatment.

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Financial Exploitation: Unauthorized spending of funds entrusted to a person by the vulnerable adult that results or is likely to result in detriment to the vulnerable adult.  Failure to use the vulnerable adult’s financial resources to provide for the vulnerable adult’s needs, to the detriment of the vulnerable adult

Warning signs might include:

  • Sudden inability to pay bills

  • Sudden withdrawal of money from an account

  • Person lacks belongings that they can clearly afford

  • Lack of receptivity by the persons relatives to necessary expenditure

  • Power of attorney obtained when the person is unable to understand what they are signing

  • Extraordinary interest by family members in the vulnerable adults assets

  • Recent change of deeds o the house

  • Caregivers' main interest is financial with little regard for the health and welfare of the vulnerable adult

  • The person managing the finances is evasive and uncooperative

  • Reluctance to accept care services

  • Purchase of items that the individual does not require or use

  • Personal items going missing

  • Unreasonable or inappropriate gifts

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Mandated Reporters: Compassionate Home Care employees are trained in how to look out for abuse and are required to have training on these issues yearly.

 

Education and training: Agency staff are trained on MN Vulnerable Adult laws and reporting upon hire and annually.

A mandated reporter must immediately report:

  •  Any action that constitutes maltreatment (abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation);

  •  If a vulnerable adult has sustained a physical injury that is not reasonably explained;

  •  An error that occurred in the provision of therapeutic conduct to a vulnerable adult, resulting in injury or harm, which reasonably requires the care of a physician.

How must a report be submitted?

  • Most mandated reporters must submit an oral report of maltreatment to MAARC. MAARC may accept an electronic report submitted through a web-based reporting system, but it cannot require reports to be submitted in written form. A facility that is both licensed by the state and federally certified may submit an electronic report instead of an oral report. (Minn. Stat. § 626.557, subd. 4)

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Discrimination Abuse:  Abuse based on the grounds of: age, gender, race, culture, religion, sexuality or disability. This can also include Hate crime and Mate crime. Mate crime occurs when vulnerable adults are "befriended" with the intention to abuse.

Discriminatory abuse can look like:

  • Derogatory comments

  • Harassment

  • Being made to move to a different resource/ service based on age

  • Being denied medical treatment on grounds of age or mental health

  • Not providing access

Undue Influence: means the abuse by a person who stands in a position of trust or confidence of the person’s role, relationship, or authority to wrongfully exploit the trust, dependency, or fear of a vulnerable adult to gain control over the decision making of the vulnerable adult, including decision making related to finances, property, residence, and health care. 

Warning signs might include:

  • The influencer (e.g. a new caregiver) isolates the victim by preventing visits and calls

  • The victim complains about being pressured or harassed

  • Unusual activity in the victim’s bank accounts

  • A change in the victim’s regular pattern of giving

  • Giving the influencer power of attorney

  • The victim favoring certain beneficiaries, particularly a caregiver

  • Sudden changes to the victim’s estate plan (e.g. creating a new will, naming a new executor)