At NJFA‚Äôs 12th Annual Conference on June 10th we were pleased to offer a workshop titled, ‚ÄúThe Ethical and Legal Response: Identifying and Reporting Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation‚Äù. This session featured, David Ricci, State Coordinator of Adult Protective Services; Pat Bohse, Manager, NJ4A; Linda Murtagh- Social Work Supervisor, Ocean County Board of Social Services; and Vincent Olawale- Human Services Division Manager FOCUS, Hispanic Center of Community Development, Inc. The presenters advised the group on how to identify elder abuse and the different forms it takes. Elders can experience abuse in many ways, physical, mental/emotional, financial and also through neglect.¬†
Also in the discussion was NJ Laws regarding elder abuse and reporting, as well as, the states rules and regulations regarding referrals made to Adult Protective Services. The law regarding Adult Protective Services applies to any ‚Äúvulnerable adult‚Äù, meaning anyone over 18 years of age or older who resides in a community setting and who, because of a physical or mental illness or disability, lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or carry out decisions concerning his or her well-being. When reporting elder abuse, you should provide the name and address of the adult and as much information as possible about the concern and the person responsible for any abuse. The report should be investigated within 72 hours according to NJ State Law. Depending on what is found, the adult protective services worker may refer the older adult to services and may contact other Departments, such as the Office on Aging or Division of Developmental Disabilities.
The new NJ State Law regarding the reporting of abuse that was discussed in this session. The law makes it mandatory for certain professionals to report elder abuse, such as optometrists, psychologists, podiatrists, and physical therapists. The new law establishes mandatory reporting for these healthcare professionals and first responders because they are likely to come in contact with vulnerable adults.
Another part of the presentation included Pat Bohse of NJ4A and Bohse & Associates, showing a video about elder abuse. The video shows professionals, elders and family members talking about specific examples of elder abuse as well as numerous facts and figures about the problem. The point of the video is to raise awareness about the problem of elder abuse and encourage people to report it so that more elders can get help if they are in an abusive situation.
¬†Evaluations from the session indicate that attendees found the presentation informative and that the speakers were engaging. We‚Äôd also like to take this opportunity to again thank our wonderful presenters for taking the time to put together this session on a very important subject.