Prevention of Abuse and Exploitation of Participants


Abuse is an act or omission that willfully deprives a participant of rights or human dignity, or which may cause or causes actual physical injury or emotional harm to a participant including a critical incident and any of the following:

  • Sexual harassment of a participant.

  • Sexual contact between a staff member and a participant.

  • Restraining a participant.

  • Financial exploitation of a participant.

  • Humiliating a participant.

  • Withholding regularly scheduled meals from a participant.



In this module, you will learn about “safe management techniques.” What this means is that when you work with residents who behave in potentially dangerous ways, there are some effective things you can do to ensure their safety as well as your own.

It is common for a resident to become frustrated, depressed, angry or resentful about physical or mental losses he/she may be experiencing. Medications the resident takes may also contribute to difficult behaviors. Residents may express these behaviors towards you directly, or indirectly, by not being cooperative in the care you provide. These behaviors may be distressing, simply annoying or time‑consuming, but they could have the potential to become unsafe if not managed correctly. In this module, you will identify behaviors that are potentially dangerous and what to do when they occur. You will learn about positive management techniques that protect the resident’s health, safety and well-being. The techniques in this module can be useful during difficult situations.

How do you recognize signs of abuse and neglect?

Unfortunately, we occasionally read about or hear news reports of abuse and neglect occurring in personal care homes. Residents may abuse one another, staff may abuse residents or residents may abuse staff. By law, signs of abuse and neglect are to be reported. Therefore, you must become knowledgeable about this topic.  Abuse can be physical or emotional.  Some examples of abuse are:

Prohibited techniques:

  • Locking a consumer in a room

  • Using loud noises to scare a consumer.

  • Pushing or grabbing a consumer.

  • Giving consumer medicine to make him/her quiet or sleepy.

  • Using something like a pillow or tie to keep a consumer from moving.

  • Holding a consumer with your hands so that he/she cannot move.

  • Yelling at or threatening with words.

How do you recognize signs of abuse and neglect?

  • Harassing a person.

  • Using Ethnic slurs.

  • Sexual Harassment.

  • Rape.

  • Attempted rape.

  • Sexual assault.

  • Threatening to make a person leave the home.

  • Pushing, hitting, or shaking.

  • Pulling hair or ears.

  • Tying a consumer to a bed or chair.

  • Locking a consumer in a room.

  • A staff person engaging in any sexual contact with a consumer.

  • Neglect is the failure to provide the necessary care that results in harm to the consumer.


Examples of neglect include:

  • Leaving a group of aggressive consumer unsupervised.

  • A direct care staff person falling asleep while on duty.

  • Delaying the normal scheduling of routine medical or dental visits for health maintenance.

  • Isolating a consumer in their room.

  • Leaving a consumer unattended by direct care staff for long periods of time.

  • Failing to seek medical help when a consumer shows symptoms of injury or illness, or if a consumer complains of pain.

  • Delaying assistance with activities of daily living, such as failure to help a consumer with toileting and causing the consumer to soil himself/herself.

PREVENTION OF ABUSE: What should you do if you see abuse or neglect?

  • You should ask your supervisor what the Agency’s procedures are to report suspected abuse or neglect. It is not your responsibility to investigate or confirm the suspected abuse or neglect—only to report what you see. When reporting to your supervisor, it is important to be “objective.” state only what you see or hear, not your interpretation of what you see or what you assume is happening, which is “subjective” information. In other words, just state the facts.

  • DHS complaint hotline. Each home care agency is required to provide to the consumer the Complaint Hotline number (1-877-401‑8835).

  • Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office. The phone number is in the blue pages of the phone book and should be posted in a conspicuous place in each licensed facility. A trained professional will either help resolve the issue or contact the proper authority, if necessary.

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© 2018 by An Answered Prayer, LLC