Elderly people must not be exposed to injury, violence, neglect, abuse, exploitation, or abandonment by others. Since 1987 Elderly Protection Service Law It has served as a Pennsylvania system for protecting the health, safety and well-being of older people at immediate risk of these serious crimes.
Since serving as Secretary-General for Aging in 2019, improving protection services has been a top priority. No one, especially legislators, has shown that we should do nothing more to serve and protect the elderly, especially the most vulnerable. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
Still, the General Assembly has not acted after more than a decade of calls from the Aging Department, stakeholders, and courts for the significant need to renew and strengthen OAPSA.
Finally, legislative measures need to be considered to adequately address changes in the direct care workforce, facilities that serve the elderly, and the rise of economic exploitation as a form of elder abuse.
Specifically, the law needs to be urgently amended to clearly identify individuals who should not be allowed to work as caregivers for the elderly. The current statutory ban to address this issue was decided by federal court in 2015 to be unconstitutional.
It was the court’s intention to amend OAPSA to better clarify the rights of all parties involved in the employment process, especially if someone was denied the opportunity to work as a caregiver.
Caregivers can serve the elderly in vulnerable situations such as changing clothes or bathing and gain access to important and valuable personal information. As part of the changes proposed to OAPSA, this department strongly supports the strengthening of background checks for all new and incumbent employees working with older people in a long-term care environment.
The agency also advocates expanding the list of mandatory reporters of abuse and facilities where employees are required to report abuse. Additions to the list of mandatory reporters include care options that did not exist in 1987, when the law was first enacted (family health, hospice, livelihood support, etc.).
This extension provides a more robust network for reporting elder abuse and strengthening the protection of older people.
Since OAPSA became our statutory guide nearly 35 years ago, the amount, type, and scope of abuse to protect older Pennsylvania has been departmental. 2020-21 Elderly Protection Service Annual Report.. Reports of alleged elder abuse have increased by 63% over the past five years.
Monetary exploitation as a form of elder abuse has also increased significantly. The results of a financial exploitation survey of senior citizens in Pennsylvania released by the division in September 2020 show that the OAPSA amendment raises awareness of how financial exploitation is carried out, and financial institutions are suspicious of financial exploitation. Voluntarily reported and concluded that it would encourage financial providers and areas to grant. An aging agency with the ability to share information and records related to exploitation cases.
Much excellent work has been done in collaboration with departments, community agencies on aging, and stakeholders to combat elder abuse, but with the full power of the updated Conservation Services Act. All work can be much more influential.
Still, for some reason, the General Assembly does not seem to be able to reach it, despite concerns from lawmakers’ voices about the protection of the elderly.
Pennsylvania is home to more than 3 million adults over the age of 60, and this figure is projected to grow to 4 million in eight years, or nearly 30% of the state’s population. Elderly Pennsylvanians deserve the protection of the law, which strengthens the department’s ability to address issues affecting them today and effectively provide their protection.
As the department responsible for advocating and protecting the elderly in our state, the Aging Department promises to amend OAPSA as one of its top priorities for the rest of the 2021-22 session. I request the general meeting.
Measures by the House Aging and Old Adult Services Commission on Hennessy’s House Building 1681 are required, and similar legislation must be upheld in the Senate so that these updates can be ultimately achieved.
Let’s do this now for all the elderly we serve and care about in Pennsylvania.
Robert Torres is an aging secretary in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Needs Strengthening Laws to Prevent Elder Abuse – Wake-up Calls
Source link Pennsylvania Needs Strengthening Laws to Prevent Elder Abuse – Wake-up Calls