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Adult Protective Services - History, Current Status, Issues And Trends

aging social harm persons neglect vulnerable

Adult protective services represents the constellation of interventions used to promote safety and well-being for older persons (or other vulnerable adults) whose health or circumstances subject them to harm or threat of harm. Protective services have evolved since their origins, with current focus on elder abuse broadly defined. Most of the work, however, is directed at the needs of older persons suffering from self-neglect or neglect by a caregiver.

All states have laws mandating the protection of vulnerable older persons. Law implementation is handled by public departments of social services or state units on aging. These agencies function in four major ways to provide adult protective services: (1) receive and investigate reports or referrals; (2) assess client status and service needs; (3) arrange and coordinate or offer services to prevent or treat harm; and (4) seek legal intervention in the form of surrogate decision-making authority for the incapacitated older person or criminal penalty for the abuser, if indicated.

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their own laws, regulations, and service delivery systems. As a result, protective services vary across the country