Unregulated staff and volunteers are not members of professional colleges that set standards and exercise discipline over members of a profession. They are often the ones most directly in contact with seniors both in the community and in residential settings. Many seniors depend on their services to meet basic needs and support their daily living activities. Because of the essential nature of their work, they are often the only contacts for isolated seniors.
This group includes: personal support workers, meals on wheels volunteers, transportation drivers, friendly visitors, recreation workers, hospice volunteers, and victim service volunteers.
Concerns about workplace safety arise when providing support to “at risk” seniors, because it can include working in the same workplace as the suspected abuser. Employees need to know that they have the right to refuse to work in environments if they believe that their personal safety is at risk. Please see the Occupational Health and Safety Act for additional information on workplace. Your employer has a legislated responsibility to have policies and procedures supporting safety on the job.
Be cautious of documentation left in seniors’ homes as this could increase the risk of harm to the seniors.
*Cases of elder abuse often require support from the social service, healthcare, legal, and justice sectors. One person can only help within the limits of her role. Seek support from your own agency resources, and externally as appropriate.
NOTE: It is important to work in collaboration with partners in care. We all have a role to play in elder abuse prevention, intervention and response.