If Connecticut residents are aware of the term mandatory reporter, they likely tend to think of it in terms of the reporting of child abuse. People such as teachers and other professionals who work with children are required by law to report suspicions of the abuse of their charges to the proper authorities. However, the state also requires certain individuals to report the fact that elderly or disabled people are being neglected or abused in an institutional setting like a nursing home.
According to the state’s Department of Public Health, various people who work with or around patients in a nursing home or long term care facility need to report incidents of suspected abuse or neglect. This includes not only the obvious healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and other providers, but also orderlies, administrators and other nursing home employees. Further, it includes people who are there for specific reasons, such as specialized doctors like optometrists and dentists, as well as police officers, social workers, physical therapists and clergy persons.
These mandatory reporters need to file a report with the Connecticut Commissioner of Social Services (or his or her designated representative) within five days of the discovery of the condition that leads to the suspicion of abuse or neglect. If they do not do so they face fines, and might be liable if further injury occurs to a vulnerable individual.
It should be noted that making a civil case against a mandatory reporter who fails in his or her duty may not be easy, and there may be defenses that such individuals can raise. However, people who have legal duties such as this do need to be held accountable when their failure to perform them leads to injury of the elderly or disabled. People with questions about such cases may wish to consider contacting an experienced Connecticut nursing home abuse attorney.