Adult Protective Services (APS) in Colorado
In Colorado, the adult protective services are responsible for investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse, caretaker neglect, mistreatment, and self-neglect of at-risk adults. By offering protective services, APS aims to improve the welfare, safety, and health condition of vulnerable adults experiencing neglect, mistreatment, or abuse.
Below are some key provisions of the new APS bill effective from January 1, 2022:
- The department of human services may disclose the results of a CAPS check to a health oversight agency for a regulatory investigation without a court order.
- An employer and a current or former employee must provide the professional license number of an employee who is a subject of an investigation regarding the mistreatment of an at-risk adult.
- The court shall request a CAPS check on a person before they are appointed a conservator or guardian of an at-risk adult to determine if they are substantiated in a mistreatment case.
Abuse involves any of the following acts or omissions:
- The non-accidental infliction of bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death,
- Confinement or restraint that is unreasonable under generally accepted caretaking standards, or
- Subjection to sexual conduct or contact that is classified as a crime.
Use of Restraints
Under Colorado nursing home laws, restraint must be medically necessary for a patient before it can be used. Also, according to The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, a nursing home resident has the right to be free from physical or chemical restraints, such as heavy doses of medications, imposed for discipline or convenience, and are not required to treat the resident's medical symptoms.
Required Response to Reports of Abuse
Under 6 CCR 1011-1 Chapter 7 Section 13.11, upon receiving a report of suspected abuse or mistreatment, the nursing care home or assisted living residence shall investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of residents under its reporting requirements and written policies.
Neglect occurs when adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, physical care, psychological care, habilitation, supervision, or any other service required for the health or safety of an at-risk person is not secured or provided for the person promptly.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect
Some common signs of abuse or neglect in nursing homes and adult care facilities include:
- Bed injuries
- Pressure ulcers or bedsores
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Sudden or unusual behavioral changes
- Emotionally upset and non-communicative
- Instances of wandering or elopement
- Falls, bruises, fractures, or head injuries
- Unwillingness to speak in the presence of staff members
- Unexplained injuries, including cuts, wounds, bruises, or welts in various stages of healing
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions of the nursing home or adult care facility
Our experienced personal injury attorneys can investigate the surrounding facts of your case and determine who is liable for your loved one's injuries.
Who is Liable?
Depending on the surrounding circumstances, any of the following parties or entities may be held responsible for nursing home abuse, neglect, or injury:
- The nursing home staff or caregivers
- The owner of the care facility for negligence or failure to provide a safe environment
- The maintenance staff for failure to keep the facility free of possible hazards that could cause injury or harm to residents
- Other residents for their reckless, negligent, or intentionally harmful actions.
- Visiting family members
- A third party that provides essential services to the care facility if they caused the injury.
Our skilled attorneys can identify the liable party, help prove negligence, and file your injury claims.
To pursue damages for nursing home neglect or abuse, the plaintiff must show that:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to your at-risk loved one
- The at-fault party breached its expected duty of care
- The at-fault party was negligent or careless when it breached its duty of care
- The at-fault party's carelessness caused injury or death to your elderly loved one
- Your elderly loved one suffered actual damages due to the injury or death.
Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys can fight diligently to protect your loved one's rights and help seek the financial compensation they're entitled to.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Filing an injury claim in nursing home abuse or neglect cases often involves a lot of complex procedures. Identifying the at-fault party and proving negligence can make the case even more complicated and overwhelming. Therefore, you need to retain one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys to explore your possible options to recover damages and help protect your loved one's rights.
At Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, we have the experienced legal guidance and vigorous representation clients need for their injury claims. Using their extensive knowledge of laws addressing liability in personal injury cases involving nursing home neglect and elder abuse, our trusted attorneys can help guide you through the often complex legal process. Having our team on your side can increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your nursing home abuse lawsuit.