Our topic for both the criminal and civil newsletters this month is IHSS and elder or dependent neglect. There have been a handful of recent cases in which an IHSS provider was being charged criminally for neglect, so I thought it pertinent to educate my clients on IHSS providers and the expected level of care they should be providing. The subtopics are:

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Caregivers

For elderly and disabled persons to live independently in their home, they often seek aid from family or hired assistants. Sometimes this involves live-in caregivers and other times the caregiver comes in for a few hours at a time. The support provided typically involves the activities of daily living (ADL) such as cleaning, cooking and bathing. At higher levels, care may involve assistance with medical tasks such as injections for diabetics or dressing changes for wounds. Unless the caregiver is an independently hired nurse, the medical aspects of care are very limited.

Most states provide support to eligible applicants based on age or disability. For example, the program in California is through the Department of Social Services and is called In-home Supportive Services (IHSS). Under this program a non-medical person will come into the home of the recipient and assist them with common household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. There are some mild “paramedical” tasks that may be authorized such as checking blood sugar or giving injections, but training is required before they can be provided. California’s list of non-medical authorized tasks can be reviewed here and information on paramedical services is here. For more information on your state, a keyword search online is necessary. Family members may apply to become IHSS providers for reimbursement by the state.

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