Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Panel discussion "Knee Deep in Clutter" Conference held on June 19th at Beverly COA

The morning portion of our conference included a panel discussion including: Christiana Bratiotis, MSW, Boston University; Jonathan Fielding, Protective Services Regional Manager, EOEA; and Paul Halfmann, Assistant Director Community Sanitation Program, MA Department of Public Health.

Ms. Bratiotis focused on the role that collaboration plays when more than one agency is involved in a hoarding case. Hoarding cases are time consuming and expensive. Collaboration is a good way to share information and resources, make a coordinated plan to work with a hoarder, and provide support to the members of each agency involved. Aspects of a plan might include deciding which agency will respond in which situation, and who is in charge of each case. Community task forces are a good way to coordinate care and provide training and community education. Some task forces designate one agency to do case triage.

Mr. Fielding described the role that the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) plays in neglect, abuse and self-neglect cases. For the most part, local agencies are in charge of individual cases, and EOEA oversees those agencies. He helped to define abuse and neglect cases as those where people are not having their daily basic needs met. However, if someone is deemed competent, they are not required to accept services, and often the service agency must walk away.

Mr. Halfmann described the state Department of Public Health's role in hoarding cases. Their role is primarily to advise the local health department, not to interact directly on individual cases. The local health department enforces Chapter II of the State Sanitary code in these situations. One important point that Mr. Halfmann made is that health department personnel may not enter a person's home without the occupant's permission.

1 comment:

Casondra said...

This is great info to know.