You can anonymously call The Arc of Beaver (a member of the ACHIEVA Family of organizations) at (724) 775-1786 or 1 (800) 272-0567, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to file a report of abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation.
ACHIEVA is under contract with the Beaver County Office on Aging to provide Older Adult Protective Services (OAPS) to people 60 years of age and older.
Protective services apply to older adults, who, because of one or more functional limitations, need the assistance of another person to perform or obtain services necessary to maintain physical or mental health.
Caseworkers investigate and intervene in cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment and exploitation. This help is available to adults, 60 years of age or older, in the community as well as those in licensed facilities. The individual's personal rights are always respected and legal assistance is arranged when necessary.
Causes of Elder Abuse:
- Caregiver stress
- Impairment of the dependent elder
- Cycle of violence
- Personal problems of abusers
Abuse: the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish; the willful deprivation by a caregiver of goods or services that are necessary to maintain physical or mental health; sexual harassment, rape or abuse as defined in the Protection from Abuse Act (35 P.S. Section 10181-10190)
Signs of Abuse:
- Unexplained broken bones, untreated wounds, welts, signs of being tied up (wrists and ankles)
- Bruises or burns, often in shapes or patterns, in various stages of healing
- Difficulty walking due to unexplained injuries or medical condition
Neglect: the failure to provide for oneself or the failure of a caregiver to provide goods and/or services essential to avoid a clear and serious threat to physical or mental health.
An older adult (60 years and older) who does not consent to the provision of protective services will not be found to be in negligent solely on the grounds of environmental factors that are beyond the control of the older adult or the caretaker, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing or medical care.
Signs of Neglect:
- Lack of adequate food, clothing or shelter
- Lack of necessary medical care
- Lack of supervision resulting in imminent risk or danger to self
- Lack of hygiene or housekeeping causing individual to become sick
Exploitation: an act or course of conduct by a caregiver or other person against an older adult (60 years of age and older) or an older adult's resources, with the informed consent obtained through misrepresentation, coercion or threats of force that results in monetary, personal or other benefit, gain or profit for the perpetrator or monetary or personal loss to the older adult.
Signs of Exploitation:
- Unpaid bills and lack of necessities where there is adequate income
- Unusual withdrawals from accounts, bounced checks or forged signatures
Making a Report: You can anonymously call The Arc of Beaver (a member of the ACHIEVA Family of organizations) at (724) 775-1786 or 1 (800) 272-0567, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Any person who has reasonable cause to believe that an older adult needs protective services may file a report.
- Administrators and staff in care facilities who have reasonable cause to suspect that a recipient of care is a victim of abuse are required to file a report
- Reporters may choose to remain anonymous
- Emergency referral can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Any person who believes that an older adult (60 years of age and older) is being abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned may file a report 24 hours a day with any Area Agency on Aging or call the statewide elder abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505
- Abuse reports can be made on behalf of an older adult whether the person lives in the community or in a care facility such as a nursing home, personal care home, or hospital
- Reporters may remain anonymous
- Reporters have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination, civil or criminal prosecution
- Employees and administrators of nursing homes, personal care homes, domiciliary care homes, adult day care centers and home health care agency staff are mandated by Act 13 of 1997 to immediately report any suspected abuse of a recipient of care to the Area Agency on Aging. If the abuse involves serious injury, sexual abuse or suspicious death, reporters must also call police and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at (717) 265-7887. In addition, the reporter may also call the Pennsylvania Department of Health Nursing Home Complaint Line at 1-800-254-5164.
- Failure to report as required by Act 13-1997 can result in administrative or criminal penalties.
- The Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), mandatory abuse reporting requirements have been amended. Effective February 9, 2003, facilities that provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in residences licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) or that are funded through a County Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) program shall not be required to report abuse if the recipient is under the age of 60 years. Specifically, this includes:
- Community residential rehabilitation service;
- Community homes and family living homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
- Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including State and non-State operated facilities and homes;
- State mental hospitals
Every report of abuse received by the Area Agency on Aging must be investigated to determine if the reported victim needs help to protect them from abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Each report must be classified as emergency, priority or non-priority. Emergency reports are investigated immediately and non-priority reports are investigated within 72 hours.
Once the incident has been identified as protective and determined that service provision is necessary, the Area Agency on Aging in most cases must have the older adult's consent to provide protective services. Permission is not required if the services have been ordered by a court, requested by the older adult's court appointed guardian or provided as part of an involuntary, emergency intervention court order because of imminent risk of death or serious physical injury.
All services offered to victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment must be based on a comprehensive assessment of the victim's needs and described in a written service plan presented to the victim for their approval.
Finally, in the provision of protective services certain rights must be guaranteed. Those rights are as follows:
- Victims have the right to be told that someone has reported that they might be the victim of abuse and need protective services
- Victims can refuse to accept services
- Victims have the right to legal counsel when the Area Agency on Aging attempts to obtain an emergency, involuntary intervention court order
- Victims have the right to a guarantee that all information concerning their case will be maintained confidential
- Alleged abusers have the right to be notified after substantiation of a report and given an opportunity to challenge the findings of the investigation
For more information, contact Judy Hamilton, Supervisor, at (724) 775-1602, x17 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional staff for Older Adult Protective Services:
Colleen Dittman, OAPS Caseworker
(724) 775-1602 x19
Allison Landis, OAPS Caseworker
(724) 775-1602 x23
Karen Progar, OAPS Caseworker
(724) 775-1602 x22
Karen Sickler, OAPS Caseworker
(724) 775-1602 x24
Back to Advocacy