Thursday, December 1, 2016

New GAO Report on Guardianship: "ELDER ABUSE: The Extent of Abuse by Guardians is Unknown, but Some Measures Exist to Help Protect Older Adults"

The extent of elder abuse by guardians nationally is unknown due to limited data on key factors related to elder abuse by a guardian, such as the numbers of guardians serving older adults, older adults in guardianships, and cases of elder abuse by a guardian. Court officials from six selected states GAO spoke to noted various data limitations that prevent them from being able to provide reliable figures about elder abuse by guardians, including incomplete information about the ages of individuals with guardians. Officials from selected courts and representatives from organizations GAO spoke to described their observations about elder abuse by a guardian, including that one of the most common types appeared to be financial exploitation. Some efforts are under way to try to collect better data on elder abuse and guardianship at the federal, state, and local levels to support decision making and help prevent and address elder abuse by guardians. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to launch the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System—a national reporting system based on data from state Adult Protective Services (APS) agency information systems by early 2017. According to HHS and its contractor, this system has the capability to collect information that could specifically help identify cases of elder abuse where a guardian was involved. GAO also identified state and local initiatives to capture key data points and complaint data as well as identify “red flags” such as unusually high guardian fees or excessive vehicle or dining expenses.

The federal government does not regulate or directly support guardianship, but federal agencies may provide indirect support to state guardianship programs by providing funding for efforts to share best practices and facilitate improved coordination, as well as by sharing information that state and local entities can use related to guardianship. State and local courts have primary responsibility over the guardianship process and, as such, have a role in protecting older adults with guardians from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Measures taken by selected states to help protect older adults with guardians vary but generally include screening, education, monitoring, and enforcement.

What the GAO Found: ELDER ABUSE:  The Extent of Abuse by Guardians is Unknown, but Some Measures Exist to Help Protect Older Adults

Read the GAO's report:  ELDER ABUSE:  The Extent of Abuse by Guardians is Unknown, but Some Measures Exist to Help Protect Older Adults

Watch the Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing: "Trust Betrayed: Financial Abuse of Older Americans by Guardians and Others in Power" 


Stephanie said...

What about I-DD adults?

StandUp said...

Thank you for this information, NASGA. I didn't get to watch the hearing so I am interested to see it and am hopeful the witnesses got the message out.

Glen said...

I think the title is a bit off unless some one concentrates on the word "some" because there is some help, but not much. Tracking and auditing reports does nothing for the person locked up in an Alzheimer's unit drugged into oblivion.

Tracking and statistics are important. I don't mean to say they're not. But right now, there no help. FL has it's fraud unit, but it doesn't go after the professionals. It concentrates on family guardians and the professionals are doing more damage.

B Inberg said...

No database for a reason to keep the profits and the abuses in the dark same old same old it's up to protect ourselves this is the new world order and remember more than 30 years ago:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

- President Reagan Aug. 12, 1986