Reporting Elder Abuse

Effective September 29, 2018, section 5101.63 of the Revised Code was significantly expanded to include medical professionals as individuals mandated to report suspected elder abuse, neglect or exploitation in Ohio. 

 

“This expansion of mandatory reporters will help us in our goal of protecting our vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors from harm,” said Cynthia Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), which supervises Ohio’s Adult Protective Services (APS) program. “Older adults make up the fastest-growing segment of Ohio’s population so all of us need to be vigilant. If you suspect that elder abuse, neglect or exploitation might be occurring, please report it.”

 

“We work with state and local partners to ensure that our elders are able to live independently, and with dignity and respect, in their homes and communities for as long as possible,” added Beverley Laubert, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “Each of us must feel empowered to speak up when we suspect that a neighbor, friend or loved one might be the subject of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Likewise, we deserve to know that people who serve our elders daily will take action when they spot warning signs.

 

To support medical professionals in their new responsibilities, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) developed training materials on identifying and reporting elder abuse. ODJFS has developed this reference guide with information specifically for individuals working in the medical field.

Understanding Elder Abuse: A Guide for Medical Professionals

 

If mandatory reporters fail to report possible abuse, they could face criminal charges and fines of up to $500. Ohio law allows no exceptions for professional relationships – for example, doctor/patient relationships or attorney/client relationships.

 

Elder abuse can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation. In addition to physical injuries, the following are just a few of the possible indicators: being isolated, missing appointments, appearing frightened or avoiding specific people, suddenly withdrawing from usual activities or interactions, changes in mood or temperament, changes in personal hygiene or being resistant to touching.

 

Anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse 24/7 by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county department of job and family services (JFS). To find the nearest county JFS, visit jfs.ohio.gov/county. Physical proof or other evidence is not required. Reports can be made anonymously.

 

Learn more about elder abuse, including how to recognize warning signs and who to call is you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation, visit the Ohio Department of Aging’s Elder Abuse webpage at www.aging.ohio.gov/elderabuse.