Elder Abuse & Elderly Protective Services
Authored By: Elder Law Task Force
Q. What is Elder Abuse?
A. Louisiana law defines elder abuse as the infliction of physical or mental injury on an adult 60 years or older by other parties, including but not limited to such means as sexual abuse, abandonment, isolation, exploitation, or extortion of funds or other things of value, to such an extent that the health, self-determination or emotional well-being of the adult 60 or older is endangered.
Q. What are some signs of elder abuse?
· Physical harm, such as pushing, hitting, restraining the person;
· Emotional and verbal bullying, such as screaming, threatening or insulting the person;
· The care giver isolating the person, or the older person becoming isolated to the point of danger;
· Sexual abuse, particularly against a person who does not consent;
· Neglect, such as not providing for medicine, medical care, food, personal care, utilities, or daily needs;
· Over medication;
· Self-neglect to the point of danger;
· Stealing or misusing money, property or the possessions of the elderly person.
Q. What is the Elderly Protective Services (EPS) Program?
A. Elderly Protective Services is a State agency that investigates allegations of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation against persons 60 or older. EPS provides statewide services through regional offices throughout the State. You can reach EPS at 1-800-898-4910.
EPS does not investigate abuse or neglect in nursing home, assisted living or personal care homes of persons 60 or older. Complaints are reported to the Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-960-7705 or DHH Health Standards at 1-888-810-1819.
Q. Who should contact Elderly Protective Services (EPS)?
A. EVERYONE is a mandatory reporter of abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly. Doctors, dentists, nurses, social workers, counselors, police officers, psychologists, coroners, podiatrists, occupational therapists, osteopaths, probation officers, staff of homemaker and home health agencies, or nursing facilities, financial directors, bank tellers, family members, neighbors and friends.
Q. What should be reported to EPS when an incident occurs?
A. All reports should provide the name and address of the elder, the name and address of the person responsible for the care of the elder, and any additional information related to your suspicions. Helpful information includes, but is not limited to, observations of burns, bruises, black or swollen eyes, broken bones, dilated pupils, evidence of restraints, bedsores, lack of clothing or dirty clothing, body odor, dehydrated or starved appearance, no utilities in the home, personal property missing, no food or medication, frequent change in doctors, no visitors allowed, the victim saying he or she is afraid or ashamed.
Q. I am afraid to call EPS.
A. Okay, so you aren't an expert on what may be abuse. It's easier to do nothing instead of "getting involved". Recognizing the difficulties involved in reporting a potential case of abuse, the law provides the following protections:
· If you act in good faith by reporting what you believe to be abuse or neglect, you cannot be ordered by a court to pay damages, even if no abuse is validated.;
· Also no criminal charges can be brought against you if you make a report in good faith;
· If you are aware of abuse or neglect and fail to report it, you could be charged with a crime and either fined or jailed;
· All reports are confidential. EPS cannot release the reporter's name without a written release signed by the reporter.
Q. What happens after a report is made?
A. EPS staff investigates each complaint. If EPS determines that the complaint is valid, EPS will create a plan to solve the problem utilizing local resources. This may involve finding someone the victim trusts to help handle finances. It may involve obtaining services such as meals on wheels or homemaker services for the victim. EPS staff may help the victim move to a safer home. In some instances, EPS may force the abuser to move and stay away from the victim. After the plan is in place, EPS staff monitors the plan at each step until the situation is resolved.
When EPS staff determines that a case of abuse or neglect warrants it, they may seek court orders to protect the victim. Additionally, EPS may send the case to the local District Attorney for criminal prosecution.
If EPS determines that it does not have appropriate authority to handle the matter, EPS will refer the investigation to other agencies, programs, or local resources between able to help the victim. (For example, a complaint about a nursing home will be referred to the Ombudsman program or DHH Health Standards.)
Q. How can I report abuse or neglect to EPS?
A. Call the toll-free EPS Statewide Hotline (from within Louisiana only) at 1-800-898-4910 or, if out of state, call 1-225-342-9722 or the individual region as follows.
EPS REGIONAL CONTACT NUMBERS/PARISHES:
AlexandriaRegion Parishes: Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon, Winn
Location: 1208 Wisteria Street, Alexandria, LA 71301
Phone: (318) 484-2219
Toll-Free (in-state only): (800) 256-7001
Fax: (318) 484-2236
Baton Rouge Region Parishes: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Point Coupee, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana
Location: 200 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 387-4277
Toll-Free (in-state only): (800) 256-4277
Fax: (225) 706-0004
HammondRegion Parishes: Livingston, Saint Helena, Saint Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington
Location: Shamrock Plaza, 902 C. M. Fagan Drive, Suite F, Hammond, LA. 70403
Phone: (985) 543-4036
Toll-Free (in-state only): (800) 533-1297
Fax: (985) 543-4038
LafayetteRegion: Acadia, Assumption, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, Saint Landry, Saint Martin, Saint Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion
Location: 300 Iberia Street, Suite 120, New Iberia, LA 70560
Phone: (337) 365-9855
Toll-Free (in-state only): (800) 491-5044
Fax: (337) 365-9753
Lake CharlesRegion Parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis
Location: 196 Williamsburg, Lake Charles, LA 70605
Phone: (337) 475-3501
Toll-Free (in-state only): (888) 491-2619
Fax: (337) 475-3510
MonroeRegion Parishes: Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll
Location: 804 North 31 Streets, Suite A, Monroe, LA. 71201
Phone: (318) 362-4280;
Toll-Free: (800) 954-6902
Fax: (318) 362-4295
New OrleansRegion Parishes: Lafourche, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John
Location: 320 Old Hammond Highway, Suite 300, Metairie, LA 70005
Phone: (504) 832-1644
Toll Free (In-state only): 1-800-673-4673
Fax: (504) 835-0409
ShreveportRegion Parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, Desoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Webster
Location: 1525 Fairfield Avenue, Room 538, Shreveport, LA 71101-4388
Phone: (318) 676-5200
Toll Free: 1-800-259-5284
Fax: (318) 676-5212
Updated: April 2010
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