Protecting Elders at Risk
In any community, there are elders who suffer from abuse, financial exploitation or neglect. And there are elders who put themselves at risk. Springwell's Protective Services Program is designed to help eliminate or alleviate the abuse or neglect of an elder. Caseworkers work in conjunction with community agencies providing health, mental health, legal, and social services.
Springwell is the state designated protective services agency for:
The support offered may include, but is not limited to:
What is Elder Abuse?
The Elder Abuse Law, enacted in Massachusetts in 1983, defines elder abuse as any act or omission which results in serious physical or emotional injury to, or financial exploitation of, an elder. This includes:
Who is Protected?
All people 60 years old and older living in the community are protected under this law.
Who Can Report Elder Abuse?
Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe an elder has been abused may make a report of elder abuse. The identity of the reporter is always kept confidential.
Who Must Report Elder Abuse?
Physician, medical interns, dentists, coroners, podiatrists, osteopaths, physician assistants, social workers, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, family counselors, firefighters, police and probation officers, emergency medical technicians, executive directors of home health aide and homemaker agencies, casemanagers, health aides, and homemakers, and managers of assisted living residences are all mandated reporters of elder abuse.
How Do I Report Elder Abuse?
During regular work hours, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, abuse may be reported by calling the Protective Services Department at Springwell at (617)926-4100. After work hours, nights, and weekends, abuse should be reported to the state-wide Elder Abuse toll-free HOTLINE: 1-800-922-2275. The HOTLINE will contact a Springwell Protective Services caseworker if necessary.
If you are a Mandated Report you are required to completed a Mandated Reporter Form and send it to Springwell within 48 hours of making the verbal report.
Click here for a copy of the form.
The form should be mailed to:
Please note: The Mandated Reporter Form does not take the place of a verbal report. Springwell is not able to respond to a report until a verbal report is received. To make a report the reporter must call Springwell.
What About Liability?
No mandated reporter is liable in any civil suit or criminal action by reason of submitting a report to Protective Services. Also, no other person making a report is liable in any civil or criminal action if the report is made in good faith (without malicious intent).
What Happens Then?
A Protective Services caseworker is assigned to investigate the situation. The caseworker determines whether abuse is present and the nature and extent of the abuse. If abuse is confirmed, the caseworker will offer the elder a choice of services designed to alleviate or end the abuse. Protective Services staff, sensitive to the needs of elders, will balance the mandate to protect elders with an elder's right to self-determination. If there is reasonable cause to believe abuse has taken place, a case will be opened and protective services offered. Protective services may include in-home services, medical treatment, counseling, legal services, information and support. Staff will exercise the least restrictive means of intervention, with the goal of maintaining elders in their own homes. A competent elder has the right to accept or refuse protective services.
What if Someone is Self Neglecting and not being Abused by Someone Else?
Call Springwell. Our staff will conduct an assessment and help ensure that the elder is safe.
The elder's rights and wishes are always respected.
To report elder abuse call during business hours
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts'
Services are funded by grants from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.