Your Legal Duty – Reporting Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Part 2

Your Legal Duty – Reporting Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Part 2


[music playing]>>VISITOR: and I thought that was…>>NURSE: Mrs. Russell, we’re going to be having
dinner in about 15 minutes, alright? Let me just hold onto your cell phone for
safekeeping. [phone dialing] [phone ringing] Hi! How’s it going? How’s the weather there?
No way! She….>>FEMALE NARRATOR: As a mandated reporter,
it’s important to remember that all you are legally required to do is report. You’re not
an investigator or a judge. Reporting is your individual responsibility and can’t be delegated
or passed on to anyone.>>WILLIAM YOSHIMOTO: You are an individual
reporter, and you are responsible to make the report. You cannot simply rely on your
supervisor or some other administrator to make the report. And so failure to do so means that
you are still liable, and I will come after you.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: While your facility may
require you to notify a supervisor or administrator, this does not relieve you of your legally
required reporting duties.>>MARK ZAHNER: A supervisor, an administrator,
anybody who’s your boss – however you want to define it – they cannot tell you to not
report something. No matter what their rules or regulations are internally, you have an
obligation to report and they cannot tell you to not report. If they’re doing that,
they’re absolutely in violation of the law.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: You must report if a resident
reports abuse to you, if you have witnessed or have knowledge of abuse, or if you reasonably
suspect that abuse has occurred.>>MARK ZAHNER: A reasonable suspicion is just
simply whether you think that abuse has occurred. Do I believe that abuse has occurred? It’s
just a gut-level feeling that you might have. If you’re thinking about it, and you’re thinking,
“should I report this”, the answer’s always going to be “yes”. Because if you’re engaging
in this thought process, it’s reasonable suspicion that there’s been abuse.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: The procedure is simple.
First, you must immediately report by telephone to the long-term care ombudsman or local law
enforcement.>>LARRY MENARD: Anyone who observes abuse,
or reasonably suspects abuse, simply picks up the phone. The numbers are usually posted
in most facilities in several different locations. Just pick up the phone. Make the call to the ombudsman
or the local law enforcement agency nearest you.>>TOM DAHILL: The initial phone report from
a mandated reporter is not a lengthy process. The name of the facility, the resident involved,
if they know any of the employees that might be involved – if it was that type of report
– the time it happened, the date it happened,….>>LARRY MENARD: After they make that phone
call, they must fill out the SOC 341 and they have two working days to do that.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: The form you use for reporting
is the SOC 341. Your facility has copies of the SOC 341 and must make them available.
Additionally, your local long-term care ombudsman can give you forms and answer any questions
you may have.>>MALE NARRATOR: While all information on
the SOC 341 is very important, please pay special attention to the following. Section A
is victim identification information. The victim does not have to participate in the
reporting process, and there may be more than one victim. Section B identifies you as the
person making the report. Remember, the only individuals who will have this information
will be the investigative or enforcement agencies receiving the report. Section D includes information
on the type of abuse. Use your best judgment when identifying the specific kind of abuse
that may have occurred. Section E is for comments or observations. You also need to list signs
of abuse or neglect. Include any specific behavior or statements of the victim.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: Section G is for you to
list any other individuals that may have knowledge of the incident, the victim or the alleged
abuse. Section H identifies the suspected abuser. You need to provide as much information
as possible. Section I identifies the date and to whom you made the telephone report. You must
list the name of the person you reported to.>>TOM DAHILL: This particular form is available,
normally in a facility; however, if they don’t have one, we will see that they get one by
either mailing it to them or delivering it to them in person at the facility.>>MALE NARRATOR: Again, you are a mandated
reporter of known or suspected elder or dependent adult abuse. You are the one who must report
immediately by phone to law enforcement or the ombudsman. You are the one who must follow
that with a written report within two working days. For you, the law is clear. Reporting
is your individual duty. [end Part 3]>>MAN STANDING: My book, you have. My book!
That’s my book! [smack!]>>PATIENT: AHH! [screaming] [several smacks!]
AHH! [screaming] OW! OW!>>MALE NARRATOR: If you have to make a report,
it’s natural to wonder what happens next.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: Although you might never
know the final outcome, your report will trigger an investigation that may stop needless suffering.>>DIANA BOUTIN: It may take some time before
a mandated reporter sees any results from anything that they report, and a number of
agencies may be conducting investigations in ways that the mandated reporter is not
aware of.>>MALE NARRATOR: As a mandated reporter, you
have a legal obligation. Because of that, there are strong penalties for anyone who
fails to report.>>WILLIAM YOSHIMOTO: Failure to report is
a very serious matter. The penalties are substantial. If you fail to report, you could receive up
to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. But, if great bodily injury or a death takes place
because of a failure to report, the penalty’s increased to one year in jail and a $5,000
fine. We, as a society, are taking this very seriously, and we will move forward to prosecute
for failure to report.>>MALE NARRATOR: The law recognizes your sensitive
position as a mandated reporter. Because of that, you are provided with two key protections.
The first is immunity from civil and criminal liability.>>MARK ZAHNER: If an employee reports something,
their employers can’t do anything to them in retribution. Their employers would be breaking
the law if they did that. The law strictly prohibits the facility, or the employer if
you will, from taking any action against them. They’d be vigorously prosecuted.>>MALE NARRATOR: The second protection you
have is confidentiality. Your identity as a reporter can only be disclosed to authorized
investigating agencies. If anyone violates your confidentiality, they are guilty of a
misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in county jail, a fine of $500, or both.>>SOPHIA MC BETH-CHILDS: We will keep the
person who reported the incident anonymous so that the facility has no standing in pursuing
any kind of action against the employee. [music transition]>>LARRY MENARD: Those who suspect or observe abuse
must report it because quite simply it’s the law. The law says they are required and mandated.>>SOPHIA MC BETH-CHILDS: If you work in a
facility, you are a mandated reporter. That means, if you don’t report, you’re breaking
the law and you can be arrested.>>MARK ZAHNER: The law goes hand in hand with the
employees’… what should be their mission. That if there’s abuse, they should be part of a
team of people that are trying to protect the elders.>>TOM DAHILL: I tell them all to report everything
and anything they see. If they have a doubt, report it, because it’s better reported
than not reported at all.>>SOPHIA MC BETH-CHILDS: Unless you get involved,
the abuse will continue, or the person or facility will get away with it, and the person
has an obligation when they see abuse to act on it. If it was their own mother or their own
brother that this was happening to, would they want someone to overlook that?>>WILLIAM YOSHIMOTO: Mandated reporters truly
are the first line of defense for us. Unless mandated reporters come forward,
these things will never come to light, we will never put an end to abuse and stop
this increasing trend.>>MALE NARRATOR: It’s your legal duty to report.
By reporting, you are following the law. By not reporting, you are breaking the law. It’s
that simple.>>FEMALE NARRATOR: The purpose is clear: to
protect those who can’t protect themselves. Everyone has the right to be safe and secure
in their own home and, for many, a long-term care facility is their home.>>MALE NARRATOR: Most residents are frail.
Many can’t speak for themselves, and many more may not even comprehend that they are
being abused. Helping protect them from agony, pain and suffering is your responsibility.>>WANDA: My mother was born in Oklahoma and
she loved her family very much. She was very family oriented. She loved to fish, and she
was quite a left-handed fisherman. My Dad used to tease her about that and her
casting, but she loved that and she loved her church, and her church family. She always found a
church that she could be happy in. My mother was 92 when she went into this nursing facility.
She went in in June. She passed away in August. Nobody called, except my mother, that night.
She wanted me to know she was having trouble with the nurse, and… [crying] she knew she
was in trouble. She’d started having all the symptoms of having a massive heart attack
there. And, um… they knew it. [laugh] Being 92, she would have gone a couple
of weeks, a month, two months, maybe she’d have gone another year or two, but it
would’ve been her time… not because somebody else didn’t do
the right thing. [music playing]

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