The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services investigated 84,439 incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Financial Exploitation was confirmed in 16,490 investigations, while medical and mental neglect accounted for 20,940 cases. The World Health Organization states that 50% of adults older than 65 with dementia experience abuse and neglect. Those are some statistics. We all have heard stories about financial exploitation, self-neglect or abuse experienced by older adults. To many of us, those stories have a name and a face. We have seen it happen.
Guardianship is a legal mechanism that is implemented by the Court of Law. A guardian is appointed based on hearing testimony and the Judge’s review of evidence. One of the roles of a Guardian is to protect the incapacitated person from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Appointing a guardian is restrictive, as decision-making rights are removed from an individual and placed with the court-appointed Guardian. Persons with a Guardian usually need this level of protection.
What happens when there is no longer a need for a protective mechanism as restrictive as guardianship? A court can terminate a guardianship and restore rights for three reasons: (1) the court finds the person has regained the ability to make decisions; (2) the court finds that the person has developed sufficient decision-making supports and no longer needs the assistance of a guardian, or (3) additional evidence becomes available to show that the person does not meet the legally required criteria for the appointment of a guardian. (National Center on Law and Elder Rights)
The Physician’s Certificate of Medical Evaluation is an important part of the evidence. Courts rely on the Physician’s Evaluation to make their decisions on appointing a guardian or restoring rights. A well-considered, thoughtful evaluation is necessary. Ideally, the evaluation process should provide the Physician with a holistic, person-centered perspective. That’s what we do at arrangeCARE with our PROTECTS program. The program operates on these principles.
- P: Physician Driven and Person-Centered Our Physician considers the whole person as presented in the assessments completed with the client and their family.
- R: Respectful Our clients are people, not a diagnosis. Our interactions reflect the respect that your loved ones deserve.
- O: We work within an organized process so that you may receive efficient, easy to understand reports.
- T: Multidisciplinary team arrangeCARE staff includes a neurologist, an Advanced Clinical Practitioner of Social Work, a Master Guardian, and a Registered Nurse
- E: Evidenced-Based Evaluations Our staff use evaluation tools that are recognized as “best practices.”
- C: Compassionate That’s who we are. Each arrangeCARE team member brings decades of thoughtful and effective work with people in need.
- T: Thorough Our evaluation includes a thorough review of medical information, social history, and non-medical review of cognitive skills.
- S: Seniors and other at-risk individuals. Our clients are adults who are at possible risk for abuse and exploitation. We work with older adults as well as persons with disabilities.
What services does PROTECTS provide?
PROTECTS is a program that looks at the issues of Incapacity through a multidisciplinary approach.
PROTECTS looks to minimize the exploitation of persons who may be incapacitated.
PROTECTS is a resource to help protect the rights of the vulnerable person, as we look for the least restrictive alternatives to guardianship, looking at the supports and services in your community.
PROTECTS can be invaluable when supporting a person through a rights restoration by providing accurate and current assessments.
PROTECTS includes a person-focused social history. Using the tools provided by the National Guardianship Association, a trained arrangeCARE staff person can provide a non-medical evaluation for the need for guardianship. The assessment process includes a thorough review of possible supports and services. The assessments and obtained medical records will be sent to our agency’s neurologist for review. The doctor will meet with the client to evaluate the client, using the Texas Physician’s Certificate of Medical Examination (PCME) as a primary tool. The physician will write a thorough report of his findings, to include a completed PCME. arrangeCARE’s team of professionals will give you a comprehensive report that will help provide guidance for you, and trusted evidence for the Court with the goal of making the best decision possible.
To learn more about PROTECTS, give us a call at 512-814-3228. We are here for you!