Guiding Value: Every action taken by Adult Protective Services
must balance the duty to protect the safety of the vulnerable adult with the adult’s
right to self-determination.
Secondary Value: Older people and people with disabilities who
are victims of abuse, exploitation or neglect should be treated with honesty, caring
- Adults have the right to be safe.
- Adults retain all their civil and constitutional rights unless some of these rights
have been restricted by court action.
- Adults have the right to make decisions that do not conform with societal norms
as long as these decisions do not harm others.
- Adults are presumed to have decision-making capacity unless a court adjudicates
- Adults have the right to accept or refuse services.
Reprinted with permission from the National Adult Protective Services Association
- Recognize that the interests of the adult are the first concern of any intervention.
- Avoid imposing personal values on others.
- Seek informed consent from the adult before providing services.
- Respect the adult’s right to keep personal information confidential.
- Recognize individual differences such as cultural, historical and personal values.
- Honor the right of adults to receive information about their choices and options
in a form or manner that they can understand.
- To the best of your ability, involve the adult as much as possible in developing
the service plan.
- Focus on case planning that maximizes the vulnerable adult’s independence and choice
to the extent possible based on the adult’s capacity.
- Use the least restrictive services first—community based services rather than institutionally
based services whenever possible.
- Use family and informal support systems first as long as this is in the best interest
of the adult.
- Maintain clear and appropriate professional boundaries.
- In the absence of an adult’s expressed wishes, support casework actions that are
in the adult’s best interest.
- Use substituted judgment in case planning when historical knowledge of the adult’s
values is available.
- Do no harm. Inadequate or inappropriate intervention may be worse than no intervention.