State of Washington
64th Legislature
2015 Regular Session
By Representatives Moeller, Jinkins, Tharinger, and Appleton; by request of Department of Social and Health Services
Read first time 01/27/15. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
AN ACT Relating to modifying certain definitions concerning vulnerable adults, including the definitions of abuse and sexual abuse; and amending RCW 74.34.020 and 74.34.205.
Sec. 1.  RCW 74.34.020 and 2013 c 263 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Abandonment" means action or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care for a vulnerable adult that leaves the vulnerable person without the means or ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or health care.
(2) "Abuse" means the willful action or inaction that inflicts injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment on a vulnerable adult. In instances of abuse of a vulnerable adult who is unable to express or demonstrate physical harm, pain, or mental anguish, the abuse is presumed to cause physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. Abuse includes sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, and personal or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, and improper use of restraint against a vulnerable adult which have the following meanings:
(a) "Sexual abuse" means any form of nonconsensual sexual ((contact))conduct, including but not limited to unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sodomy, sexual coercion, sexually explicit photographing, and sexual harassment. Sexual abuse also includes any sexual ((contact))conduct between a staff person, who is not also a resident or client, of a facility or a staff person of a program authorized under chapter 71A.12 RCW, and a vulnerable adult living in that facility or receiving service from a program authorized under chapter 71A.12 RCW, whether or not it is consensual.
(b) "Physical abuse" means the willful action of inflicting bodily injury or physical mistreatment. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, striking with or without an object, slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or prodding((, or the use of chemical restraints or physical restraints unless the restraints are consistent with licensing requirements, and includes restraints that are otherwise being used inappropriately)).
(c) "Mental abuse" means ((any willful action or inaction of mental or verbal abuse. Mental abuse includes, but is not limited to, coercion, harassment, inappropriately isolating a vulnerable adult from family, friends, or regular activity, and verbal assault that includes ridiculing, intimidating,))a willful verbal or nonverbal action that threatens, humiliates, harasses, coerces, intimidates, isolates, unreasonably confines, or punishes a vulnerable adult. Mental abuse may include ridiculing, yelling, or swearing.
(d) "Personal exploitation" means an act of forcing, compelling, or exerting undue influence over a vulnerable adult causing the vulnerable adult to act in a way that is inconsistent with relevant past behavior, or causing the vulnerable adult to perform services for the benefit of another.
(e) "Improper use of restraint" means the inappropriate use of chemical, physical, or mechanical restraints. Improper use of restraint includes the use of chemical, physical, or mechanical restraints for convenience or discipline or in a manner that: (i) Is inconsistent with facility licensing or certification requirements; (ii) is not medically authorized; or (iii) otherwise constitutes abuse under this section.
(3) "Chemical restraint" means the administration of any drug to manage a resident's or client's behavior in a way that reduces the safety risk to the resident or others, has the temporary effect of restricting the resident's freedom of movement, and is not standard treatment for the resident's medical or psychiatric condition.
(4) "Consent" means express written consent granted after the vulnerable adult or his or her legal representative has been fully informed of the nature of the services to be offered and that the receipt of services is voluntary.
(((4)))(5) "Department" means the department of social and health services.
(((5)))(6) "Facility" means a residence licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 18.20 RCW, assisted living facilities; chapter 18.51 RCW, nursing homes; chapter 70.128 RCW, adult family homes; chapter 72.36 RCW, soldiers' homes; or chapter 71A.20 RCW, residential habilitation centers; or any other facility licensed or certified by the department.
(((6)))(7) "Financial exploitation" means the illegal or improper use, control over, or withholding of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult by any person or entity for any person's or entity's profit or advantage other than for the vulnerable adult's profit or advantage. "Financial exploitation" includes, but is not limited to:
(a) The use of deception, intimidation, or undue influence by a person or entity in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult to obtain or use the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult;
(b) The breach of a fiduciary duty, including, but not limited to, the misuse of a power of attorney, trust, or a guardianship appointment, that results in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult; or
(c) Obtaining or using a vulnerable adult's property, income, resources, or trust funds without lawful authority, by a person or entity who knows or clearly should know that the vulnerable adult lacks the capacity to consent to the release or use of his or her property, income, resources, or trust funds.
(((7)))(8) "Financial institution" has the same meaning as in RCW ((30.22.040 and 30.22.041))30A.22.040 and 30A.22.041. For purposes of this chapter only, "financial institution" also means a "broker-dealer" or "investment adviser" as defined in RCW 21.20.005.
(((8)))(9) "Incapacitated person" means a person who is at a significant risk of personal or financial harm under RCW 11.88.010(1) (a), (b), (c), or (d).
(((9)))(10) "Individual provider" means a person under contract with the department to provide services in the home under chapter 74.09 or 74.39A RCW.
(((10)))(11) "Interested person" means a person who demonstrates to the court's satisfaction that the person is interested in the welfare of the vulnerable adult, that the person has a good faith belief that the court's intervention is necessary, and that the vulnerable adult is unable, due to incapacity, undue influence, or duress at the time the petition is filed, to protect his or her own interests.
(((11)))(12) "Mandated reporter" is an employee of the department; law enforcement officer; social worker; professional school personnel; individual provider; an employee of a facility; an operator of a facility; an employee of a social service, welfare, mental health, adult day health, adult day care, home health, home care, or hospice agency; county coroner or medical examiner; Christian Science practitioner; or health care provider subject to chapter 18.130 RCW.
(((12)))(13) "Mechanical restraint" means any device attached or adjacent to the resident's body that he or she cannot easily remove that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body.
(14) "Neglect" means (a) a pattern of conduct or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care that fails to provide the goods and services that maintain physical or mental health of a vulnerable adult, or that fails to avoid or prevent physical or mental harm or pain to a vulnerable adult; or (b) an act or omission by a person or entity with a duty of care that demonstrates a serious disregard of consequences of such a magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to the vulnerable adult's health, welfare, or safety, including but not limited to conduct prohibited under RCW 9A.42.100.
(((13)))(15) "Permissive reporter" means any person, including, but not limited to, an employee of a financial institution, attorney, or volunteer in a facility or program providing services for vulnerable adults.
(((14)))(16) "Physical restraint" means the application of physical force without the use of any device, for the purpose of restraining the free movement of a resident's body. The term physical restraint does not include briefly holding without undue force a resident or client in order to calm or comfort him or her, or holding a resident's or client's hand to safely escort a resident from one area to another.
(17) "Protective services" means any services provided by the department to a vulnerable adult with the consent of the vulnerable adult, or the legal representative of the vulnerable adult, who has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited, neglected, or in a state of self-neglect. These services may include, but are not limited to case management, social casework, home care, placement, arranging for medical evaluations, psychological evaluations, day care, or referral for legal assistance.
(((15)))(18) "Self-neglect" means the failure of a vulnerable adult, not living in a facility, to provide for himself or herself the goods and services necessary for the vulnerable adult's physical or mental health, and the absence of which impairs or threatens the vulnerable adult's well-being. This definition may include a vulnerable adult who is receiving services through home health, hospice, or a home care agency, or an individual provider when the neglect is not a result of inaction by that agency or individual provider.
(((16)))(19) "Social worker" means:
(a) A social worker as defined in RCW 18.320.010(2); or
(b) Anyone engaged in a professional capacity during the regular course of employment in encouraging or promoting the health, welfare, support, or education of vulnerable adults, or providing social services to vulnerable adults, whether in an individual capacity or as an employee or agent of any public or private organization or institution.
(((17)))(20) "Vulnerable adult" includes a person:
(a) Sixty years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for himself or herself; or
(b) Found incapacitated under chapter 11.88 RCW; or
(c) Who has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020, or who the department reasonably believes has a developmental disability based on school or medical records; or
(d) Admitted to any facility; or
(e) Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW; or
(f) Receiving services from an individual provider; or
(g) Who self-directs his or her own care and receives services from a personal aide under chapter 74.39 RCW.
Sec. 2.  RCW 74.34.205 and 1999 c 176 s 16 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Any vulnerable adult who relies upon and is being provided spiritual treatment in lieu of medical treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well-recognized religious denomination may not for that reason alone be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected.
(2) Any vulnerable adult may not be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected under this chapter by any health care provider, facility, facility employee, agency, agency employee, or individual provider who participates in good faith in the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment from a vulnerable adult under chapter 70.122 RCW, or who acts in accordance with chapter 7.70 RCW or other state laws to withhold or withdraw treatment, goods, or services.
(3) It is a defense to an allegation of physical abuse or improper use of restraint that the alleged perpetrator reasonably acted to prevent an imminent danger of a substantial likelihood of harm to any person, the alleged perpetrator's conduct was necessary to prevent the harm, and the alleged perpetrator's conduct was proportional to the danger. It is the alleged perpetrator's duty to prove this defense by a preponderance of the evidence in any civil adjudicative hearing.
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