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Adult Protective Services

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a broad term that refers to any abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult age 60 or older.

  • Abuse takes many forms, and includes hitting, pushing or striking an older adult; yelling at or belittling an older adult; and use of unreasonable constraint/confinement. Abuse can be physical, psychological or sexual in nature and most often occurs at the hands of an adult child or other family member.
  • Neglect can be by a caregiver or the hands of the older adult (self-neglect) and involves the failure to provide needed services or items to prevent harm.
  • Finally, exploitation is the act of using an older adult’s resources for the benefit of another and can be financial or material in nature.

What are adult protective services (APS)?

Adult protective services (APS) are services that prevent, remedy or reduce situations that endanger an older adult. These services are meant to maximize independence and self-direction while preventing unnecessary institutionalization by selecting the least restrictive alternative for intervention.

Per Ohio law, an individual must be 60 years of age or older to receive adult protective services and must be considered a vulnerable older adult. A vulnerable older adult suffers some form of physical or cognitive impairment that prevents them from being completely independent.

APS investigates cases of older adults in the community. There are different agencies that investigate abuse in nursing homes or abuse of developmentally disabled individuals.

Who can make a report of elder abuse?

Anyone can report elder abuse. Ohio law mandates that certain professionals must report elder abuse, including doctors, nurses, lawyers, physical therapists, social workers, law enforcement and emergency response personnel.

Where do I report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly?

In Franklin County, Ohio you can report elder abuse by calling Adult Protective Services at (614) 525-4348, Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Professionals and mandated reporters can make reports online at http://referrals.officeonaging.org.

To make a report outside of Franklin County, visit the Ohio HOPES website at www.ohiohopes.org for local reporting numbers. Outside of Ohio, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

What information do I need to make a report?

You will need the address or exact whereabouts of the older adult and all information you have about the nature of the abuse. APS will also ask you a series of questions to gather as much information as possible about the situation and the older adult’s needs.

What happens after I make a report?

All reports are reviewed by supervisory staff to ensure they meet the criteria for an investigation.

Once assigned, an investigator has three business days to initiate the investigation which is typically done with a visit to the abused person’s home. An investigation can take up to 30 days to complete and involves speaking with collateral contacts and making multiple visits to see the older adult.

What help is available to victims of elder abuse?

APS works closely with community agencies to ensure the safety of the older adult. These agencies include providers of home-delivered meals, home health services, mental health providers, and law enforcement personnel. APS also works very closely with the courts on matters that require legal intervention.

What happens if an elder abuse victim declines help?

Adults, old and young, have the right to refuse help. APS honors the wishes of those that decline assistance except in situations where the adult very clearly lacks the ability to make this decision.

APS works in conjunction with physicians, mental health professionals and the courts when an adult’s ability to make decisions is in question and abuse is happening.

What are my rights if someone makes a report about me to APS?

You have the right to know the allegations that have been reported and the basis for the concern. Additionally, all APS clients are entitled to have an advocate of their choice present during any interview. Adults are entitled, by law, to a letter explaining that a report has been received and the intent to investigate.

APS works towards honoring the wishes of the older adult while gathering information from other concerned parties, who may not be entitled to the details of the investigation.

What are my rights if I make a report to APS on someone else?

You have the right to make your report anonymously and leave no identifying information. You also have the right to contact APS and provide follow-up information on an open case.

Due to laws of confidentiality, APS may not be able to provide any feedback on the status of an open case. This concerns information on the substantiation status of any allegation.