Dept. of Aging releases guidance on protective services for older adults

The temporary guidance provides operational flexibility to protect older adults and staff during investigative cases while practicing social distancing

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has released COVID-19 guidance on handling protective services for older adults. This temporary guidance provides operational flexibility to protect older adults and staff during investigative cases while following the ongoing directive from Gov. Tom Wolf to stay home and practice social distancing.

“One of our primary responsibilities at the Department of Aging is to protect older adults from abuse, neglect, exploitation and/or abandonment by investigating suspected cases of abuse quickly and thoroughly,” said Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “During the governor’s COVID-19 mitigation effort, we want to ensure we are reducing the risk of exposure to both the older adult and investigator while ensuring the safety and protection of the older adult.”

The guidance addresses how protective services workers can protect themselves and limit contact during each phase of an investigation, from the intake process, to understanding when face-to-face contact is required under the current circumstances, to preparing for an on-site visit when necessary.

This guidance will be updated on a recurring basis, as needed, when new information becomes available.

Anyone suspecting elder abuse should call the statewide abuse reporting hotline at 1-800-490-8505, which is operational 24/7, 365 days per year.

All Department of Aging guidance related to COVID-19 is available here.

Visit health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Learn more about the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at aging.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx