§ 15.42. Standards for initiating and conducting investigations.
(a) Requirements by report category.
(1) Emergency report.
(i) The investigation of a report categorized as emergency shall be initiated immediately following the referral of the report. The protective services caseworker shall make every attempt to ensure the immediate safety of the older adult and to conduct a face to face visit as soon as possible. The agency shall assure that reasonable attempts will be made to conduct a face to face visit within 24 hours after the report is received.
(ii) When, after reasonable efforts to gain access to the older adult, the protective services caseworker is denied access, the caseworker shall document the efforts made and take action, as appropriate, under § 15.61 or § 15.71 (relating to access to persons; and involuntary intervention by emergency court order).
(2) Priority report. The investigation of a report categorized as priority shall be initiated as soon as possible. The agency shall assure that reasonable attempts to initiate the investigation will be made within 24 hours after the report is received. The investigation of a priority report is initiated only by contact with the older adult reported to need protective services. The protective services caseworker shall make every attempt to visit with the older adult face to face within the 24 hours provided. When, after reasonable efforts to gain access to the older adult, the caseworker is denied access, the caseworker shall document the efforts made and take action, as appropriate, under § 15.61 or § 15.71.
(3) Nonpriority report.
(i) The investigation of a report categorized as nonpriority shall be initiated in a timely manner but never later than 72 hours after the report was received. At the discretion of the agency, the initiation of an investigation of a nonpriority report shall include a visit to the older adult reported to need protective services when details in the report indicate a need to see and talk with the older adult face to face to secure or verify facts essential to the ongoing investigation.
(ii) The investigation of a report categorized as nonpriority shall include at least one visit to the older adult reported to need protective services at an appropriate point in the course of the investigation. Every attempt shall be made to visit with the older adult face to face. When, after reasonable efforts to gain access to the older adult, the protective services caseworker is denied access, the caseworker shall document the efforts made and, when appropriate, take action under § 15.61 or § 15.71.
(4) No need report. The investigation of a report categorized as no need for protective services shall consist of the protective services caseworkers review of the report categorization. If the caseworker agrees with the initial categorization, appropriate referrals shall be made within 72 hours after the report was received, to the area agency on aging service management system or, if concerning an adult under 60 years of age to another community agency, if available. If the caseworker does not agree with the initial categorization, the report shall be placed in another category in this subsection and addressed under the applicable provisions for investigating a report in that category.
(b) Reports involving county or area agency on aging employees. If the agency is required to investigate a report which alleges that abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment has been perpetrated by an employee of the county, the area agency on aging or its subcontractor, the agency shall notify the Department as early as possible during the current or next day of normal business hours. The notification shall be made by phone to a person designated by the Department and shall include the pertinent details of the report. A copy of the completed report of need shall be immediately forwarded by mail to the Department. Copies of written records of investigative activities shall also be forwarded to the Department for review. The Department reserves the right to intervene in the agencys investigation of a report under this subsection if it is determined appropriate to assure a fully objective investigation.
(c) Written records of investigative activities. The investigative activities, including home visits and other contacts with the older adult or other persons or organizations needed to facilitate the investigation, shall be documented in writing and placed in the case record. Documentation may include dated and signed photographs and statements related to suspected abuse.
(d) Completing investigations of reports. The agency shall make all reasonable efforts to complete an investigation of a report of need for protective services under this section as soon as possible and, in cases of abuse and neglect, at least within 20 days of the receipt of the report. The investigation of the report is completed only when the report has been determined to be substantiated or unsubstantiated and, if substantiated, after necessary steps have been taken to reduce an imminent risk to the older adults person or property.
(e) Department conducting its own investigation. If the Department determines that an agency is unable to conduct, or has not conducted, what the Department considers an acceptable protective services investigation, the Department may intervene in the agencys investigation, or conduct its own investigation.
The provisions of this § 15.42 amended May 17, 2002, effective May 18, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2412. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (228904) to (228905).
This section cited in 6 Pa. Code § 15.41 (relating to reports required to be investigated); 6 Pa. Code § 15.45 (relating to situations involving State-licensed facilities); 6 Pa. Code § 15.112 (relating to uses of funding authorized by the act); and 6 Pa. Code § 15.155 (relating to investigation).
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