In my post last week about the reporting of crimes, an avid reader of the blog left a great comment that noted that elder abuse must also be reported by certain class of people. 

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Since many of you may not be aware of such a requirement, it can be found at Conn. Gen. Stat. 17b-451 and the related statues. Here are a few of the notable provisions:

First, section (a) requires that “Any physician or surgeonany resident physician or intern … any registered nurse, any nursing home administrator, nurse’s aide or orderly in a nursing home facility, any person paid for caring for a patient in a nursing home facility, any staff person employed by a nursing home facility, any patients’ advocate and any licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, social worker, clergyman, police officer, pharmacist, psychologist or physical therapist,” who has “reasonable cause” to believe that an elderly person has been abused or neglected, must report such abuse within 72 hours to the Department of Social Services.

What’s the penalty? It’s a misdemeanor if it is not reported, with fines and more serious penalties for repeat offenders.

Can other people report that abuse? Section (c) says that “Any other person having reasonable cause to suspect or believe that an elderly person is being, or has been, abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or who is in need of protective services may report such information in any reasonable manner to the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee.”

The statute provides for protection for those who make the reports, including immunity for such a report (under section (d)).  In addition, that person cannot be fired or retaliated against by an employer for making the report (under section (e)). 

And who is “elderly”? Anyone who is 60 years or older.

For employers who have employees in the above roles, be sure to remind those employees of the requirements of the state statute and have a policy in place so that employers know where to turn with questions.