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Legal Statutes: Colorado

UPDATED September 18, 2017

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Part 1. Protective Services for At-Risk Adults

back to top§ 26-3.1-101. Definitions

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Abuse” means any of the following acts or omissions committed against an at-risk adult:

(a) The nonaccidental infliction of physical pain or injury, as demonstrated by, but not limited to, substantial or multiple skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, bone fractures, poisoning, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or suffocation;

(b) Confinement or restraint that is unreasonable under generally accepted caretaking standards; or

(c) Subjection to sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime under the “Colorado Criminal Code”, title 18, C.R.S.

(1.5) “At-risk adult” means an individual eighteen years of age or older who is susceptible to mistreatment or self-neglect because the individual is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for his or her health, safety, or welfare, or lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her person or affairs.

(2) “Caretaker” means a person who:

(a) Is responsible for the care of an at-risk adult as a result of a family or legal relationship;

(b) Has assumed responsibility for the care of an at-risk adult; or

(c) Is paid to provide care, services, or oversight of services to an at-risk adult.

(2.3)(a) “Caretaker neglect” means neglect that occurs when adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, habilitation, supervision, or other treatment necessary for the health or safety of the at-risk adult is not secured for an at-risk adult or is not provided by a caretaker in a timely manner and with the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would exercise, or a caretaker knowingly uses harassment, undue influence, or intimidation to create a hostile or fearful environment for an at-risk adult.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2.3), the withholding, withdrawing, or refusing of any medication, any medical procedure or device, or any treatment, including but not limited to resuscitation, cardiac pacing, mechanical ventilation, dialysis, artificial nutrition and hydration, any medication or medical procedure or device, in accordance with any valid medical directive or order, or as described in a palliative plan of care, is not deemed caretaker neglect.

(c) As used in this subsection (2.3), “medical directive or order” includes a medical durable power of attorney, a declaration as to medical treatment executed pursuant to section 15-18-104, C.R.S., a medical order for scope of treatment form executed pursuant to article 18.7 of title 15, C.R.S., and a CPR directive executed pursuant to article 18.6 of title 15, C.R.S.

(2.5) “Clergy member” means a priest; rabbi; duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church; member of a religious order; or recognized leader of any religious body.

(3) “County department” means a county or district department of human or social services.

(4) “Exploitation” means an act or omission committed by a person that:

(a) Uses deception, harassment, intimidation, or undue influence to permanently or temporarily deprive an at-risk adult of the use, benefit, or possession of any thing of value;

(b) Employs the services of a third party for the profit or advantage of the person or another person to the detriment of the at-risk adult;

(c) Forces, compels, coerces, or entices an at-risk adult to perform services for the profit or advantage of the person or another person against the will of the at-risk adult; or

(d) Misuses the property of an at-risk adult in a manner that adversely affects the at-risk adult's ability to receive health care or health care benefits or to pay bills for basic needs or obligations.

(5) “Financial institution” means a state or federal bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or company, building and loan association, trust company, or credit union.

(6) “Least restrictive intervention” means acquiring or providing services, including protective services, for the shortest duration and to the minimum extent necessary to remedy or prevent situations of actual mistreatment, self-neglect, or exploitation.

(7) “Mistreatment” means:

(a) Abuse;

(b) Caretaker neglect;

(c) Exploitation;

(d) An act or omission that threatens the health, safety, or welfare of an at-risk adult; or

(e) An act or omission that exposes an at-risk adult to a situation or condition that poses an imminent risk of bodily injury to the at-risk adult.

(8) “Person” means one or more individuals, limited liability companies, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, receivers, or the state of Colorado, and all political subdivisions and agencies thereof.

(9) “Protective services” means services provided by the state or political subdivisions or agencies thereof in order to prevent the mistreatment, self-neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk adult. Such services include, but are not limited to: Receiving and investigating reports of mistreatment, self-neglect, or exploitation, providing casework and counseling services, and arranging for, coordinating, delivering where appropriate, and monitoring services, including medical care for physical or mental health needs, protection from mistreatment, assistance with application for public benefits, referral to community service providers, and initiation of probate proceedings.

(10) “Self-neglect” means an act or failure to act whereby an at-risk adult substantially endangers his or her health, safety, welfare, or life by not seeking or obtaining services necessary to meet his or her essential human needs. Choice of lifestyle or living arrangements shall not, by itself, be evidence of self-neglect. Refusal of medical treatment, medications, devices, or procedures by an adult or on behalf of an adult by a duly authorized surrogate medical decision maker or in accordance with a valid medical directive or order, or as described in a palliative plan of care, shall not be deemed self-neglect. Refusal of food and water in the context of a life-limiting illness shall not, by itself, be evidence of self-neglect. As used in this subsection (10), “medical directive or order” includes, but is not limited to, a medical durable power of attorney, a declaration as to medical treatment executed pursuant to section 15-18-104, C.R.S., a medical orders for scope of treatment form executed pursuant to article 18.7 of title 15, C.R.S., and a CPR directive executed pursuant to article 18.6 of title 15, C.R.S.

(11) “Undue influence” means the use of influence to take advantage of an at-risk adult's vulnerable state of mind, neediness, pain, or emotional distress.

Repealed and reenacted by Laws 1991, S.B.91-84, § 1, eff. July 1, 1991. Amended by Laws 2000, Ch. 258, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2001.Amended by Laws 2012, Ch. 226, § 1, eff. May 29, 2012; Laws 2013, Ch. 233, § 5, eff. May 16, 2013; Laws 2016, Ch. 172, § 9, eff. July 1, 2016.