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Statutory reporting requirements leave little doubt as to the course of action long term care providers are compelled to take when suspicions or allegations of resident abuse arise. Legislative directives, internal policies and procedures and “Resident Bill of Rights” all clearly define what constitutes resident abuse and in all circumstances Ministry reporting and an investigation are required. Depending on the nature of the allegation, Police involvement may also be required.
Resident abuse complaints can be quite complex and require a thorough, independent and appropriate investigation by an experienced investigator skilled in interviewing, statement analysis and human behaviour. Complainant, respondent and witness accounts, particularly in the absence of corroborating physical evidence, are typically the primary sources of investigative evidence and as a result of human nature, recollection, motivation and perception, these accounts can vastly differ one from another. If the resident involved in the complaint experiences significant cognitive impairment, the investigation can be further deprived of the resident’s pivotal accounting of the incident.
Immediately upon receipt of a report of resident abuse, CIS recommends that long term care providers ask two simple questions of prospective witnesses and then request a written statement if the answers are, yes. The questions are:
Are you aware of the events that occurred…?
Do you have knowledge of the events that occurred…?
Written statements should be requested by the long term care employer, as soon as possible after the incident is reported in order to gather information while it is still clear in the minds of those involved, and to avoid influence or collusion. In addition to providing critical evidence, written statements provide a construct from which to formulate the initial investigative interview questions. Written statements also provide documented accounts against which to measure the consistency of subsequent testimony, and are available should forensic statement analysis be required.
Resident abuse investigations are conducted by our senior investigative personnel trained in Reid interviewing techniques, statement analysis, and human behaviour. Our resident abuse investigators include former senior law enforcement officers and human rights investigators and all have fifteen plus years experience in investigative interviewing. Long term care providers are assured of an investigation that meets all legal and statutory investigative requirements.
The consequences of a bungled investigation can be quite severe and expose the long term care provider to anything from loss of the operating license to significant civil liability or criminal prosecution. You have one opportunity to get it right and we can help. To learn more about CIS resident abuse investigations, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.
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