In Colorado an “at-risk adult” is defined as “an individual eighteen years of age or older who is susceptible to mistreatment or self-neglect because the individual is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for the individual’s health, safety, or welfare or lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the individual’s person or affairs.” An at-risk juvenile is under the age of eighteen.
Nursing homes and in-home care are usually associated with the elderly, but there is also a need for caregivers for adults who are unable to care for themselves due to disability. In many cases, these disabled at-risk adults require the same kinds of care that we think of when we think of elder care, where the least restrictive intervention is sought. In other words, care is provided to the disabled adult in the environment that causes the smallest possible change in his or her life, while still attending to physical, medical, and emotional needs. Like with elders who are unable to care for themselves, the preference with disabled adults may be in-home care, so that the disabled adult can retain as much of his or her normal lifestyle as possible, but nursing home care may become a necessity.
Unfortunately, the various forms of abuse and neglect that elders can be exposed to may also apply to disabled adults. Also like elders, disabled adults may be unable or unwilling to defend themselves, or even to report abuse. This is why it is extremely important, if your loved one is a disabled adult, to watch for signs of abuse and neglect, and report any reasonable suspicions you may have. An experienced Colorado nursing home abuse lawyer can help you find the resources you need to protect your disabled family member, and report mistreatment to the proper authority.
Mandatory reporting of abuse, mistreatment, or self-neglect of at -risk adults and juveniles, as of May 16, 2013, is now required in Colorado, for certain professionals and caregivers. Reports are made to a law enforcement agency not more than 24 hours after making the observation or discovery. People who do report are immune for reports made in good faith.
Rhett Meyer is a Colorado nursing home abuse lawyer who has been working with the families of disabled adults and nursing home and caregiver abuse and neglect cases during the course of his professional career, which spans over two decades. He knows how difficult caring for a disabled adult can be, and is dedicated to working with families of disabled adults to ensure their health and safety with caregivers. While the majority of professional caregivers and nursing home staff are dedicated men and women working hard to help those who need help, it is a sad fact that there are exceptions. If your disabled family member’s loved one is one of these exceptions, Rhett can help. For more information and a free consultation, contact Rhett today at (303) 444-1618.