Self-Study Course
On-line Training for
Mandatory Abuse Reporting and Criminal Background Checks

Why a self study course on changes to the Older Adults Protective Services Act?

The Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA Act 79-1987) established reporting of abuse and provision of protective services for adults over age 60. The Act required the Department of Aging (PDA) to provide on-going training for protective services workers. PDA carries out that mandate by conducting periodic "basis protective services" training and annual skills enhancement/enrichment training.

Recent Amendments to OAPSA (Act 169-1996 and Act 13-1997) require employees and administrators of nursing homes, personal care homes, domiciliary care homes, adult daycare centers and home health care providers to (1) submit to a criminal background check for employment and (2) report the suspected abuse of any person who is receiving care from the agency (recipient) regardless of age.

While the amendments to OAPSA did not specifically require PDA to provide training to mandated reporters, it has taken the initiative to do so. Since the provision of "live-instructor," on-site training sessions is not always feasible, PDA has chosen to use self-study materials with Internet access as the most effective way to facilitate statewide distribution training on mandatory reporting and criminal background checks.

What does the course cover?

This Course concentrates on the process and procedures required by the Act 13-1997 and Act 169 changes to the Act 79 (OAPSA). Before starting this Self Study Course, it is important to recognize that the Regulations for Act 79 do not provide individual answers for handling specific protective services cases. Each situation is unique and must be handled on an individual basis. Neither legal nor social service remedies can be reduced to simple formulas or simple answers. Protective Services Caseworkers must use professional judgment and discretion to gather appropriate information and tailor the service plan to the specific need of each client. Those who are now required to report potential abuse need to know what abuse is and how to report it. Also, long term care facilities as defined under Act 79 need to do criminal background checks to determine if staff are qualified to provide care in those facilities. The overall aim of the Self Study Course is to give you the concepts, strategies and techniques that will allow you to understand the basic tenets of the Act, and the roles and responsibilities of various individuals and regulatory systems in the provision of protective services in long term care facilities.

The goals of the course are to help the learner:

  • To understand the Older Adult Protective Services Act.
  • To identify who is mandated to report abuse, to whom the reports are to be made and process to occur subsequent to reporting.
  • To provide information regarding the regulatory authority under which state agencies operate and the specific authority relating to mandatory reporting.
  • To identify which employees are required to obtain state police and FBI criminal background checks.
  • To understand how Pennsylvania State Police checks are obtained.
  • To understand how Federal Bureau of Investigations checks are obtained.

How is the course organized?

The course is divided into units each focusing on a specific aspect of the protective services Regulations. Each unit is organized in the same way. The following information will explain the purpose of each section of the units.

Regulation Citation to help familiarize you with the section of the Regulation where this material can be found. The actual Regulation can be found in the last unit of this course.

Unit Introduction and Learning Objectives provide a brief orientation to the material you will be studying in the unit. Notice that the objectives describe what you should be able to do by the end of each unit. Before proceeding from one unit to the next, it is a good idea to review the objectives and decide whether you can do whatever behavior is described. If you cannot, review the relevant parts of the unit.

Study Steps give you specific directions on what you should do to complete each unit. The Study Steps will tell you what to read and direct you to any exercises or tests you should complete.

Narrative that conveys the message of the unit. Materials include outlines, definitions, general narrative and graphic sections as needed.

Self Check Quizzes that allow you to check your understanding of information presented in the Unit. An answer key is provided at the end of the unit so that you can correct your own answers. The answer key also refers you to the relevant section of the information in the unit. Use these references to review any points that are not clear to you.

In some, but not all units, you will also find:

Learning Exercises that give you an opportunity to apply information that you have been studying to hypothetical situations.

Follow-up Activities that suggest things you can do to develop your network of protective services contacts and resources or deepen your understanding of the Law and Regulations. Additionally, a Glossary and a Frequently Asked Questions section is included within this web site.