Revised Code of Washington - RCW Title 74 Public Assistance - Section 74.34.020 Definitions

§ 74.34.020. Definitions

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

(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 exploitation of a vulnerable adult, which have the following meanings:

(a) "Sexual abuse" means any form of nonconsensual sexual contact, including but not limited to unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sodomy, sexual coercion, sexually explicit photographing, and sexual harassment. Sexual abuse includes any sexual contact 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, 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, yelling, or swearing.

(d) "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.

(3) "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) "Department" means the department of social and health services.

(5) "Facility" means a residence licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 18.20 RCW, boarding homes; 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 by the department.

(6) "Financial exploitation" means the illegal or improper use of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult by any person for any person's profit or advantage other than for the vulnerable adult's profit or advantage.

(7) "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).

(8) "Individual provider" means a person under contract with the department to provide services in the home under chapter 74.09 or 74.39A RCW.

(9) "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.

(10) "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.

(11) "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 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.

(12) "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.

(13) "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.

(14) "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.

(15) "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

(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.

[2007 c 312 § 1; 2006 c 339 § 109; 2003 c 230 § 1; 1999 c 176 § 3; 1997 c 392 § 523; 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 84; 1984 c 97 § 8.]

     Intent -- Part headings not law -- 2006 c 339: See notes following RCW 70.96A.325.

     Effective date -- 2003 c 230: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 12, 2003]." [2003 c 230 § 3.]

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Short title -- Findings -- Construction -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings and captions not law -- 1997 c 392: See notes following RCW 74.39A.009.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.

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Last modified: April 7, 2009