Online Program

Civil rights: Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness into the golden years

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Linda Kincaid, MPH, Coalition for Elder & Dependent Adult Rights, Saratoga, CA
Robert Fettgather, PhD, Mission College, CA
Civil rights violations against elders are reaching epidemic proportions, and prevalence of abuse increases as the baby boom ages. Abuse of the elderly is more common among the affluent, especially among elders who own their homes.

Public records from California's Department of Social Services (DSS) show an alarming prevalence of violations in residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE). A survey of California RCFEs measured management understanding of residents' rights. Over 80% of facilities that responded indicated they have violated or are willing to violate residents' rights to visitation, phone calls, mail, and the residents' right to leave the facility. Court records indicate social services employees routinely ignore these abuses.

Case studies tell the personal tragedies behind the data. Cases include elders throughout California, North Carolina, Ohio, New York, Florida, and Washington D.C. All were abused by private conservators or public guardians. All were ignored by law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. All cases received inadequate oversight from their respective court systems.

Public health professionals can play a vital role in shaping policy and informing agencies. Our profession has a unique opportunity and a responsibility to address the growing epidemic of abuse.

Attendees will be able to identify: 1. Civil rights of all elders, 2. Civil rights of residents in long-term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities, 3. Civil rights of conservatees/wards, 4. Common civil rights violations, 5. Resources to interpret civil rights.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify civil rights of all elders. List civil rights of residents in long-term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities. List civil rights of conservatees/wards. Describe the balance between “least restrictive environment” and providing a safe environment for individuals with dementia.

Keyword(s): Elderly, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Linda Kincaid obtained her Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley. She has been a chemical safety consultant to high tech companies in Silicon Valley since 1990. She was a Certified Industrial Hygienist from 2006-2010, when her mother became a victim of abuse. Linda is now an active advocate of elders’ rights. She is the California Advocacy Liaison for the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.