Topic:
LONG-TERM CARE; NEGLIGENCE; STATISTICAL INFORMATION; ELDERLY ABUSE; SOCIAL SERVICES; SEX CRIMES; NURSING HOMES;
Location:
ELDERLY ABUSE;

OLR Research Report


December 7, 2005

 

2005-R-0849

Revised

ELDER PROTECTIVE SERVICES AND LONG-TERM CARE ABUSE CASES

By: Helga Niesz, Principal Analyst

You asked how many elderly protective services cases and long-term care abuse investigations the Department of Social Services' (DSS) Social Work Services Division has investigated from July 1, 2004 to the present, particularly how many involved physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. You want statewide totals and totals broken down by DSS office.

SUMMARY

From July 1, 2004 to October 31, 2005 (the most recent 15 months), DSS investigated 4,791 active elderly protective services cases. In addition, it conducted 105 active long-term care investigations, which also involve various types of abuse, exploitation, or neglect of people living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, regardless of their age.

The statewide total for both types of cases was 4,896. Of this total, 585 investigations involved allegations of physical abuse, 28 were for sexual abuse, and 1,240 for neglect, a total of 1,853 active cases in the three categories you asked about.

The division also runs conservator of the person and conservator of the estate programs where the division's employees act as conservators for very poor people. This is not specifically for abuse victims, but it is a protective service for people who need a conservator but have no money to pay for one and no relatives able to perform this function. For the period, there were 2,152 active conservator of the person cases and 162 conservator of the estate cases.

ELDERLY PROTECTIVE SERVICES

The Protective Services for the Elderly (PSE) program accepts and investigates complaints about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people over age 60 who are living in the community. It also accepts cases of people who are not necessarily abused by others, but simply can no longer manage their own affairs living in the community and are in need of protective services (often referred to as “self-neglect” cases, which are also included in the statewide totals). The Social Work Services Division of DSS's Bureau of Aging, Community, and Social Work Services runs the program. For the most recent 15 months (July 1, 2004 to October 31, 2005, the division investigated a total of 4,791 active elderly protective services cases. Of those, 4,042 were closed during that period and 749 were still open as of October 31, 2005, as shown in Table 1 below. The division closes a case when the allegations are resolved in some way, for instance, if (1) needed services have been initiated; (2) a competent elder refuses services; (3) after investigation, the complaint was unsubstantiated; or (4) the division refers the case to law enforcement authorities. Most referrals to law enforcement are made to local authorities.

The division also records the alleged types of abuse for PSE cases: emotional abuse, exploitation, neglect, physical abuse, self-neglect, and sexual abuse. For the time period specified, there were 530 cases of physical abuse statewide, 24 of sexual abuse, and 1,221 of neglect, for a total of 1,775 for the three categories of PSE cases. DSS provided us with totals for the different categories of alleged abuse statewide, as shown in Table 2 below and by office in Table 3. Cases can involve more than one type of allegation or may be handled in more than one office, which causes these statewide totals to differ from the total numbers of cases in Table 1.

Table 1: Protective Services for the Elderly (PSE) Case Activity by Office

7/1/2004–10/31/2005 (Seniors Age 60+)

Office

Carried

Total Opened

Closed

Continued

(Not Recorded)

2

0

0

2

Bridgeport

52

262

243

80

Bristol

0

0

0

0

Central Office

1

0

0

1

Danbury

34

138

146

28

Hartford

165

887

891

162

Hartford2

0

0

0

0

Manchester

100

492

515

78

Meriden

0

1

0

0

Middletown

31

262

250

38

New Britain

62

348

339

73

New Haven

46

472

488

41

Norwalk

1

1

1

 

Norwich

58

388

386

31

Stamford

89

207

218

72

Torrington

70

170

205

36

Waterbury

120

302

329

78

Waterbury2

0

0

0

0

Willimantic

5

25

31

28

Total Statewide

836

3,955

4,042

749

4,791-total active cases for selected date range (“active” means cases carried plus opened).

*Source for data in Table 1-6 is DSS

Key

“Carried”- means cases that were opened/initiated before 7/1/04 and remained active during the selected time period.

“Opened”-means new cases started during the selected time period.

“Continued”- means cases that continued to be open/active beyond 10/31/05.

“Closed”- refers to cases completed and ended during the selected time period.

*Source for data in Tables 1 –6 is DSS.

Table 2: Statewide PSE Abuse Types

7/1/2004-10/31/2005

Description

Case Count

Emotional Abuse

615

Exploitation

766

Neglect

1,221

Physical Abuse

530

Self Neglect

2,562

Sexual Abuse

24

Total

5,718

Note: Total is greater than the total of active cases statewide in Table 1 as a number of cases involved multiple allegations.

Table 3: PSE Abuse Type By Office

Location

Description

Case Count

(Not recorded)

Neglect

1

Bridgeport

Emotional Abuse

44

 

Exploitation

45

 

Neglect

92

 

Physical Abuse

51

 

Self Neglect

148

 

Sexual Abuse

5

Central Office

Exploitation

1

Danbury

Emotional Abuse

19

 

Exploitation

33

 

Neglect

40

 

Physical Abuse

23

 

Self Neglect

86

 

Sexual Abuse

1

Hartford

Emotional Abuse

127

 

Exploitation

125

 

Neglect

260

 

Physical Abuse

111

 

Self Neglect

619

 

Sexual Abuse

3

Manchester

Emotional Abuse

68

 

Exploitation

93

 

Neglect

126

 

Physical Abuse

50

 

Self Neglect

380

 

Sexual Abuse

4

Middletown

Emotional Abuse

40

 

Exploitation

53

 

Neglect

69

 

Physical Abuse

24

 

Self Neglect

173

 

Sexual Abuse

2

New Britain

Emotional Abuse

47

 

Exploitation

88

 

Neglect

93

 

Physical Abuse

44

 

Self Neglect

190

 

Sexual Abuse

1

New Haven

Emotional Abuse

62

 

Exploitation

94

 

Neglect

171

 

Physical Abuse

74

 

Self Neglect

220

 

Sexual Abuse

2

Norwalk

Neglect

1

 

Self Neglect

1

Table 3: Continued

Location

Description

Case Count

Norwich

Emotional Abuse

77

 

Exploitation

74

 

Neglect

103

 

Physical Abuse

47

 

Self Neglect

212

 

Sexual Abuse

3

Stamford

Emotional Abuse

43

 

Exploitation

48

 

Neglect

101

 

Physical Abuse

34

 

Self Neglect

158

 

Sexual Abuse

1

Torrington

Emotional Abuse

31

 

Exploitation

25

 

Neglect

69

 

Physical Abuse

20

 

Self Neglect

137

 

Sexual Abuse

2

Waterbury

Emotional Abuse

49

 

Exploitation

73

 

Neglect

89

 

Physical Abuse

49

 

Self Neglect

205

Willimantic

Emotional Abuse

8

 

Exploitation

14

 

Neglect

6

 

Physical Abuse

3

 

Self Neglect

33

Total Statewide

 

5,718

Note: Duplicated counts may occur when a client has a case in more than office or when a client has more than one allegation. Office reports are based on the office handling the cases.

SOCIAL WORK DIVISION LONG-TERM CARE INVESTIGATIONS (LTCI)

The Social Work Division is also responsible for accepting and investigating abuse allegations from mandated elder abuse reporters about people in nursing homes and other long-term care institutions (residential care homes and assisted living facilities). Elder abuse reporters are professionals required by law to report their suspicions of elder abuse to DSS; they include, for instance, doctors, nurses, nurse's aides and other staff at nursing homes. Reports are not limited to elders and can be made about people of any age living in a long-term care facility. Before 2000, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office was responsible for accepting reports from mandated elder abuse reporters,

but now this office, which has the overall function of acting as an advocate for residents, becomes involved in these issues only when a resident requests it, and in such situations must act in accordance with the resident's wishes.

For the period specified, the Social Work Division handled 105 active long-term care cases (nine were for people under age 60). It closed 84 of these during that time, and 21 remained open as of October 31. Table 4 shows these totals by DSS office. Table 5 shows statewide totals for alleged emotional abuse, exploitation, neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The total for the three categories you asked about is 78 for the period specified (55 for physical abuse, four for sexual abuse, and 19 for neglect). Table 6 breaks the allegation of abuse types down by DSS office. Again, because there can be more than one type of allegation per case, these totals are more than the basic case totals.

The process starts when the Social Work Division receives and screens reports of potential abuse, neglect, or exploitation in long-term care facilities homes made by mandatory reporters. From July 1, 20004 to October 31, 2005, the division screened 528 such referrals. Of those, it initially screened out 224 complaints where the allegations did not meet the statutory definitions of neglect, abuse, or exploitation and were often more residents' rights issues. An example of a case that is screened out would be an altercation between two residents, both of whom suffer from dementia.

An additional 219 of the 528 referrals needed additional follow up before deciding that further action was not warranted. In those cases, the facilities were asked to provide additional documentation to the division, usually in writing.

The division opened the remaining 85 referrals as active cases during the period, after substantiating the neglect, abuse or exploitation allegations. An additional 20 active cases opened before July 1, 2004 were carried forward. Thus, the 85 new active cases and the 20 carried over comprise the 105 active cases for the period, as seen in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Active Cases: LTC Investigations by Office

7/1/2004-10/31/2005

Office

Carried

Opened

Closed

Continued

(Not Recorded)

0

0

0

0

Bridgeport

0

0

0

0

Bristol

0

0

0

0

Central Office

6

69

69

6

Danbury

0

0

0

0

Hartford

4

2

4

2

Hartford2

0

0

0

0

Manchester

1

0

1

0

Meriden

0

0

0

0

Middletown

0

3

3

0

New Britain

2

0

0

2

New Haven

1

2

0

3

Norwalk

0

0

0

0

Norwich

0

1

1

0

Stamford

4

4

5

3

Torrington

0

0

0

0

Waterbury

2

4

1

5

Waterbury2

0

0

0

0

Willimantic

0

0

0

0

Total Statewide

20

85

84

21

105 Active cases for time period selected (carried plus opened)

Reflects reports received from mandated reporters only regarding clients (of any age) residing in long term care facilities.

Table 5: Statewide LTC Investigations:

By Type of Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation

7/1/2004-10/31/2005

Description

Case Count

Emotional Abuse

19

Exploitation

21

Neglect

19

Physical Abuse

55

Sexual Abuse

4

Total Statewide

118

Note: Duplicated counts may occur when a client has a case in more than one office or when a client has more than one allegation. Office reports are based on the office handling the case.

Table 6: LTC Abuse Investigations:

By Office and Type of Abuse

7/1/2004-10/31/2005

Location

Description

Case Count

Central Office

Emotional Abuse

15

 

Exploitation

18

 

Neglect

10

 

Physical Abuse

38

 

Sexual Abuse

1

Hartford

Emotional Abuse

1

 

Physical Abuse

5

 

Sexual Abuse

1

Manchester

Emotional Abuse

1

 

Physical Abuse

1

Middletown

Exploitation

1

 

Neglect

1

 

Physical Abuse

1

New Britain

Physical Abuse

1

 

Sexual Abuse

1

New Haven

Emotional Abuse

1

 

Neglect

1

 

Physical Abuse

1

 

Sexual Abuse

1

Norwich

Physical Abuse

1

Stamford

Emotional Abuse

1

 

Neglect

4

 

Physical Abuse

6

Waterbury

Exploitation

2

 

Neglect

3

 

Physical Abuse

1

Total Statewide

 

118

Note: Duplicated counts may occur when a client has a case in more than one office or town or when a client has more than one allegation. Office reports are based on the office handling the case.

CONSERVATOR CASES

The Social Work Services Division also provides two other services that can potentially be related to abuse or neglect cases. Division employees serve as conservators of the person or estate for elderly people with assets below $1,600 who have no one else to serve in that capacity for them. In these situations, the probate court appoints the DSS commissioner as conservator, and the division's employees perform the conservator functions.

For the period specified, there were 2,152 active conservator of the person cases, of which 710 were closed during that period and 1,442 remained on October 31. In addition, 162 people received conservator of the estate services during this period; most of them also received conservator of the person services.

HN:ts/dw