Protection From Harm
Assuring the protection and safety of persons supported is a primary mission of Buffalo River Services. Protection from Harm is more than developing and implementing policies, plans and responses to incidents that have already occurred. Protection from Harm is a moral and legal commitment to support, respect and value the dignity and worth of a person who has developmental disabilities. It is an opportunity for all of us who have a responsibility as partners in the service delivery system to strive toward achieving the goal of knowing that the people we support and serve feel safe enough to be able to enjoy their lives.
Provider agencies, such as BRS, Inc., exist solely for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life of persons supported. Leadership at all levels of the system must foster an internal culture that supports individual respect. Respect for others is the first step in ensuring their safety and well-being. A combination of fostering respect for persons supported, planning to ensure safety and protection and responding to incidents appropriately, including careful analysis of the incidents that do occur, will go far in achieving the mission of protection from harm.
Incident Management is a basic component of the DIDD Protection from Harm system. DIDD has established provider requirements, forms, and a database, all to ensure effective responses to incidents involving harm or risk of harm to DIDD persons supported.
Minimum requirements for contracted providers in responding to specific incidents, reporting to DIDD, determining trends, identifying risk issues for individual persons supported, and developing management-level prevention plans, are all designed to achieve long-term prevention of harm.
DIDD has established a clear set of definitions for incidents that are reported to DIDD, which includes abuse, neglect, exploitation, and serious injuries, as well as other injuries and medical and behavioral incidents that require outside intervention (hospital emergency room, police, restraint use, etc.).
Contracted provider agencies respond to each incident, but they also report them on a standard form that is faxed to DIDD Central Office, and via a phone call directly to a DIDD Investigator if abuse, neglect or exploitation is involved. These incidents are entered into the DIDD database, and the agency also reviews all incidents at the management level weekly.
Using its own incident information, as well as quarterly reports provided by DIDD, each provider identifies individual persons supported at significant risk of harm and general agency trends and patterns. The provider uses this information toward reducing individual risk through the ISP process and toward reducing general risk through the provider prevention plan process. DIDD also identifies general trends and patterns and, as needed, develops programs intended to prevent future harm. Currently, DIDD is involved in training and other consultation with providers aimed at preventing falls and injuries from falls.
The Protection from Harm Investigations Unit conducts internal administrative investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, unexplained serious injuries and questionable or suspicious deaths for people who receive services through the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD). The Investigations unit does not conduct criminal investigations. If the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation is a criminal act, the investigations unit will report the allegation to law enforcement.
The DIDD defines abuse, neglect, and exploitation as:
• Abuse – the knowing infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish
• Neglect – failure to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness, which results in injury or probable risk of serious harm
• Exploitation – the deliberate misplacement, misappropriation or wrongful, temporary, or permanent use of belongings or money with or without consent.
If persons receiving services, families, staff, community citizens, etc., know about or suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation involving a person receiving services, they may report directly to the Investigations Unit 24 hours a day. Staff persons for Providers contracted with DIDD are required to report within 4 hours of observation or discovery of abuse, neglect, exploitation, unexplained serious injury, or questionable or suspicious death.
If you have witnessed or suspect the abuse, mistreatment, or exploitation of someone served by our agency, please immediately call:
all calls are confidential