As we begin the second quarter of 2022, allegations of Physical and Verbal Abuse are unfortunately trending very high. Below is some data about this troubling trend and some tips to help prevent future allegations. With your help, we hope to bring this trend down.
- As of March 24, 2022, Summit DD had opened 44 Physical Abuse MUIs as compared to 118 in all of 2021. That current pace puts Summit County on track to open approximately 180 MUIs for suspected Physical Abuse in 2022.
- Physical Abuse MUIs were approx. 9.5% of total categories investigated in 2021, but are currently about 15% of total categories investigated year-to-date in 2022.
Key takeaways from early 2022 data surrounding Physical Abuse:
- 21 of the 44 cases that have been opened this year have been closed by Summit DD. Of the closed cases, 11 were unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence and 10 were substantiated. (Data as of March 24, 2022)
- The breakdown of the relationship between the person served and the PPI for those 44 cases are as follows:
- DD staff (14)
- Family (13)
- Named/no relationship (11)
- Various others (6)
- The breakdown of the location of incident for those 44 cases are as follows:
- Other (14)
- Family home (11)
- DD staffed residence or setting (11)
- Transportation (5)
In addition to the rise in Physical Abuse Allegations, we are also seeing a rise in Verbal Abuse allegations in Summit County for 2022.
- As of March 24, 2022, Summit DD has opened 40 Verbal Abuse allegations this year as compared to 107 for all of 2021. That puts Summit County on pace to open approx. 160 Verbal Abuse MUIs for 2022.
- In 2021, Verbal Abuse was approx. 8.5% of total categories investigated last year but is currently about 13.5% of total categories investigated this year.
Key takeaways from early 2022 data surrounding Verbal Abuse:
- 20 of the 40 cases that have been opened in 2022 year have been closed by Summit DD. Of the closed cases, 12 were unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence and 8 were substantiated. (Data as of March 24, 2022)
- The breakdown of the relationship between the person served and the PPI for those 40 cases are as follows:
- DD staff (22)
- Named/no relationship (7)
- Family (5)
- The breakdown of the location of incident for those 40 cases are as follows:
- DD staffed residence or setting (18)
- Other 11)
- Family home (7)
Tips to Mitigate Physical & Verbal Abuse situations:
- Remind staff to maintain a professional and courteous relationship with those they serve. It is not uncommon for someone to take a joke and or unprofessional comment the wrong way, which can lead to allegations of abuse
- Often Physical & Verbal Abuse allegations stem from unnecessary power struggles between the person served and their staff. Train your staff to avoid these power struggles and stress to them that rights cannot be limited unless it has been approved to do so by a Human Rights Committee and the person served/guardian. Remember, just because a person served has a disability, it does not mean they have less rights than everyone else. If you would like to refresh your staff on the Rights of Persons with a Developmental Disability (ORC 5123.62).
- Work fatigue. While we certainly understand that DSP are spread thin due to the staffing crisis, it is still important for providers to be on the watch for staff fatigue or burn-out and to find ways to mitigate this concern. We have identified a trend for cause and contributing factors with Physical & Verbal Abuse allegations as being staff frustration and fatigue. The CDC also offers some tips on how employers and staff can manage workplace fatigue.
- Free training. Did you know that Summit DD offers free crisis intervention training for providers and their staff? Summit DD offers training in Physical/Psychological Management Training, otherwise known as PMT. PMT is not only about physical restraints or other restrictive measures, but it also focuses on ways for staff to de-escalate situations before they may become aggressive. PMT is a great tool to help support DSP in the workplace even if the person served does not have restrictive measures in their ISPs. For more information on PMT training, please visit our provider training website.