March 30, 2005

Joint Investigations of Abuse & Neglect in Nursing Homes

On March 22, 2005, DADS issued Provider Letter #05-13--Joint Investigation of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Allegations. This letter notifes nursing homes that DADS will notify local law enforcement of abuse and neglect allegations of the nature that statutorily requires DADS to investigate within 24 hours:

A resident('s):
  • health or safety is in imminent danger, or
  • has recently died because of alleged abuse or neglect or other complaint. or
  • has been hospitalized or treated in E.R. because of alleged abuse or neglect..., or
  • has been victim of a crime or
  • suffered bodily injury

Local law enforcement will be given the opportunity to participate in the investigation within parameters of their discretion.

So will local law enforcement often participate? I think that it will depend on the seriousness of the allegations and injury. If complex medical questions are involved and no death is involved, local police may leave it to DADS. If it involves a death or instances like CNA's dropping and injuring patients because a CNA attempts a transfer of a resident requiring a two people--they may participate.

We will have to see.