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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

6 Pa. Code § 15.2. Definitions.

§ 15.2. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Abandonment—The desertion of an older adult by a caretaker.


     (i)   The occurrence of one or more of the following acts:

       (A)   The infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.

       (B)   The willful deprivation by a caretaker of goods or services which are necessary to maintain physical or mental health.

       (C)   Sexual harassment, rape or abuse, as defined in 23 Pa.C.S. Chapter 61 (relating to Protection From Abuse Act).

     (ii)   No older adult will be found to be abused solely on the grounds of environmental factors which are beyond the control of the older adult or the caretaker, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing or medical care.

   Act—The Older Adults Protective Services Act (35 P. S. § §  10225.101—10225.5102).

   Administrator—The person responsible for the administration of a facility. The term includes a person responsible for employment decisions or an independent contractor.

   Agency—The local provider of protective services, which is the area agency on aging or the agency designated by the area agency on aging to provide protective services in the area agency’s planning and service area.

   Applicant—An individual who submits an application, which is being considered for employment, to a facility.

   Area agency on aging—The single local agency designated within a planning and service area by the Department to develop and administer the delivery of a comprehensive and coordinated plan of social services and activities for older adults.

   Assessment—A determination based upon a comprehensive review of a client’s social, physical and psychological status along with a description of the person’s current resources and needs using the instruments and procedures established by the Department for this purpose.

   Care—Services provided to meet a person’s need for personal care or health care.

     (i)   Services may include homemaker services, assistance with activities of daily living, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social services, home-care aide services, companion-care services, private duty nursing services, respiratory therapy, intravenous therapy, in-home dialysis and durable medical equipment services, which are routinely provided unsupervised and which require interaction with the care-dependent person.

     (ii)   The term does not include durable medical equipment delivery.

   Care-dependent individual—An adult who, due to physical or cognitive disability or impairment, requires assistance to meet needs for food, shelter, clothing, personal care or health care.

   Caretaker—An individual or institution that has assumed the responsibility for the provision of care needed to maintain the physical or mental health of an older adult. This responsibility may arise voluntarily, by contract, by receipt of payment for care, as a result of family relationship or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. It is not the intent of the act to impose responsibility on an individual if the responsibility would not otherwise exist in law.

   Case file, case record or record—A complete record of the information received and the actions taken by the agency on each report of need received. When applicable, it shall include the following elements:

     (i)   The report of need.

     (ii)   Records of agency investigative activities including related evidence and testimony.

     (iii)   Assessment.

     (iv)   Documentation of informed consent provided or agency efforts to obtain consent.

     (v)   Notifications of older adults, alleged perpetrators, police, agencies, organizations and individuals.

     (vi)   Records of court, intervention, petition or action.

     (vii)   Service plan.

   Conflict of interest—The conflict which may exist when the investigator of a report of the need for protective services has a personal or financial interest in, is responsible for, or is employed by others responsible for, the delivery of services which may be needed by an older adult to reduce or eliminate the need for protective services. A conflict of interest may also exist if an investigator has a specific personal or financial motivation to recommend services delivered by a specific agency or to allow referrals or case dispositions to be inappropriately influenced by the investigator’s knowledge of agency staff, resource limitations or by agency constraints which affect agency staff or resource allocations.

   Consumer attendant—An individual who is recruited, hired, trained, directed and supervised by the consumer for whom personal care services and other support activities are being provided.

   Court—A court of common pleas or a district magistrate, if applicable.

   Criminal history report

     (i)   For an applicant or employee who is a resident of this Commonwealth, a State Police criminal history record.

     (ii)   For a nonresident applicant or employee, a State Police criminal history record and a Federal criminal history record.288584

   Department—The Department of Aging of the Commonwealth.

   Desertion—The willful failure without just cause by the responsible caretaker to provide for the care and protection of an older adult who is in need of protective services.

   Direct contact—Touching of a recipient by an employee consistent with the professional responsibilities of the employee.

   Employee—Includes the following:

     (i)   An individual who is employed by a facility.

     (ii)   A facility contract employee who has direct contact with residents or unsupervised access to their living quarters.

     (iii)   An individual who is employed by, or who enters into a contractual relationship with, or who establishes any other agreement or arrangement with a home health care agency to provide care to a care-dependent person for a fee, stipend or monetary consideration of any kind in the person’s place of residence.

     (iv)   A student doing an internship or clinical rotation, or any other individual, who has been granted access to the facility to perform a clinical service for a fee.

     (v)   An individual, employed by an entity which supplies, arranges for, or refers personnel to provide care to care-dependent persons, who is employed to provide care to care-dependent persons in facilities or their places of residence.

   Exploitation—An act or course of conduct by a caretaker or other person against an older adult or an older adult’s resources, without the informed consent of the older adult or with consent obtained through misrepresentation, coercion or threats of force, that results in monetary, personal or other benefit, gain or profit for the perpetrator or monetary or personal loss to the older adult.

   Facility—Any of the following:

     (i)   A domiciliary care home as defined in sections 2201-A—2212-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. § §  581-1—581-12).

     (ii)   A home health care agency.

     (iii)   A long-term care nursing facility as defined in the Health Care Facilities Act (35 P. S. § §  448.101—448.904b).

     (iv)   An older adult daily living center as defined in the Older Adult Daily Living Centers Licensing Act (62 P. S. § §  1511.1—1511.22).

     (v)   A personal care home as defined in section 1001 of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. §  1001).

   Federal criminal history record—A report of Federal criminal history record information under the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s appropriation under the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1973 (28 U.S.C.A. §  534).

   Home health care agency

     (i)   Any of the following:

       (A)   A home health care organization or agency licensed by the Department of Health.

       (B)   A public or private agency or organization, or part of an agency or organization, which provides care to a care-dependent individual in the individual’s place of residence.

     (ii)   The term includes private duty home care providers, homemaker/home health aide providers, companion care providers, registry services or intravenous therapy providers.

   Incapacitated older adult—An older adult who, because of one or more functional limitations, needs the assistance of another person to perform or obtain services necessary to maintain physical or mental health. The definition of capacity or incapacity or competence or incompetence, as defined in 20 Pa.C.S. § §  5501—5555 (relating to guardianship), does not apply to this definition.

   Informed consent—Consent obtained for a proposed course of protective service provision. The consent shall be based on a reasonable attempt to provide information which conveys, at a minimum, the risks, alternatives and outcomes of the various modes of protective service provision available under the circumstances.

   Intimidation—An act or omission by a person or entity toward another person which is intended to, or with knowledge that the act or omission will, obstruct, impede, impair, prevent or interfere with the administration of the act or any law intended to protect older adults from mistreatment.

   Investigation—A systematic inquiry conducted by the agency to determine if allegations made in a report of need for protective services can be substantiated, or if the older adult referred to in the report of need is an older adult in need of protective services, or both.

   Law enforcement official—One of the following:

     (i)   A police officer.

     (ii)   A district attorney.

     (iii)   The State Police.

   Least restrictive alternative—The appropriate course of action on behalf of the older adult which least intrudes upon the personal autonomy, rights and liberties of the older adult in circumstances when an older adult lacks the capacity to decide on matters and take actions essential to maintaining physical and mental health.

   Neglect—The failure to provide for oneself or the failure of a caretaker to provide goods or services essential to avoid a clear and serious threat to physical or mental health. An older adult who does not consent to the provision of protective services will not be found to be neglected solely on the grounds of environmental factors which are beyond the control of the older adult or the caretaker, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing or medical care.

   Older adult—A person within the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth who is 60 years of age or older.

   Older adult in need of protective services—An incapacitated older adult who is unable to perform or obtain services that are necessary to maintain physical or mental health, for which there is no responsible caretaker and who is at imminent risk of danger to his person or property.

   Operator—A person, society, corporation, governing authority or partnership legally responsible for the administration and operation of a facility. At licensed facilities, the licensee is the operator.

   Planning and service area—The geographic unit within this Commonwealth, as designated by the Secretary, for the allocation of funds for the delivery of social services to older adults residing in that unit.

   Police department—A public agency of the Commonwealth or of a political subdivision having general police powers and charged with making arrests in connection with the enforcement of the criminal or traffic laws, or both.

   Police officer—A full-time or part-time employee of the Commonwealth, a city, borough, town, township or county police department assigned to criminal or traffic or criminal and traffic law enforcement duties. The term does not include persons employed to check parking meters or to perform only administrative duties, auxiliary and fire police.

   Protective services—Activities, resources and supports provided to older adults under the act to detect, prevent, reduce or eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment.

   Protective services caseworker—A protective services agency employee, regardless of staff title, who meets the minimum standards in § §  15.121—15.127 (relating to staff training and experience standards) and is assigned by the agency under §  15.13(c) (relating to organization and structure of protective services functions) to perform the following protective services functions:

     (i)   To receive reports of a need for protective services when necessary.

     (ii)   To investigate reports received under this chapter.

     (iii)   To assess the needs of protective services clients under this chapter.

     (iv)   To develop and coordinate the implementation of service plans for protective services clients.

   Protective setting—A setting chosen by the agency where services can be provided in the least restrictive environment to protect the physical and mental well-being of the older adult.

   Public or private entitlement or resource—A publicly or privately funded health or human services program available either without charge or on a cost-sharing basis to persons who qualify on the basis of one or more criteria, such as age, need, income or condition.

     (i)   The term includes various established financial assistance programs under public or private sponsorship.

     (ii)   The term does not include individual personal income or financial assets.

   Recipient—An individual of any age who receives care, services or treatment in or from a facility.

   Report or report of need—The written report of an older adult in need of protective services received under §  15.23 (relating to receiving reports; general agency responsibility) and recorded on the standardized protective services report form.

   Responsible caretaker—A caretaker who is able and willing to provide the basic care and protection necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of an older adult. A caretaker reported to have abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned an older adult is presumed, subject to an investigation under this chapter, to be unable or unwilling to provide the necessary care and protection.

   Secretary—The Secretary of the Department.

   Serious bodily injury—Injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body member or organ.

   Serious physical injury—An injury that does one of the following:

     (i)   Causes a person severe pain.

     (ii)   Significantly impairs a person’s physical functioning, either temporarily or permanently.

   Service plan—A written plan developed by the agency on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of an older adult’s need which describes identified needs, goals to be achieved and specific services to support goal attainment, with regular follow-up and predetermined reassessment of progress. Specific services to support goal attainment may include homemaker services, home-delivered meals, attendant care, other in-home services, emergency shelter or food, legal aid services, transportation and other services. Service plans are cooperatively developed by the agency staff, the older adult or the older adult’s appointed guardian and other family members when appropriate. The plan shall also address, if applicable, special needs of other members of the household unit as they may affect the older adult’s need for protective services.

   Sexual abuse—Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest.

   State-licensed facility—For all purposes involved in the determination of whether an individual is an older adult in need of protective services, a State licensed facility is defined as an institution licensed by the Commonwealth to provide temporary or permanent residence to persons in need of personal care or medical care, including nursing homes, personal care homes, hospitals, State hospitals and mental retardation centers.

   State Police—The Pennsylvania State Police.

   State Police criminal history record—A report of criminal history record information from the State Police or a statement from the State Police that their central repository contains no information relating to that person.

   Unsupervised access—Access to personal living quarters of residents when not accompanied by or within direct supervision of an employee of the facility.


   The provisions of this §  15.2 amended May 17, 2002, effective May 18, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2412. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (228889) to (228890).

Cross References

   This section cited in 6 Pa. Code §  15.92 (relating to assessment); 6 Pa. Code §  15.96 (relating to termination of protective services); 6 Pa. Code §  15.101 (relating to general); and 6 Pa. Code §  15.111 (relating to coordination of available resources).

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