Vulnerable Adult

The law defines ‘vulnerable adult’ as (RCW 74.34.020 ):

  • A person 60 years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for themselves; or
  • An adult who:
    • Is subject to a guardianship under RCW 11.130.265 or subject to conservatorship under RCW 11.130.360; or
    • Has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020; or
    • Admitted to any facility licensed or required to be licensed by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
    • Receives services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW; or
    • Receives services from an individual provider; or
    • Self-directs his or her own care and receives services from a personal aide under chapter 74.39 RCW.

DSHS can investigate only situations of abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation that involve an alleged victim who meets the definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ in the law. APS refers situations that involve alleged victims who do not fall within the definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ to appropriate resources.

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