Delaware Code Title 16. Health and Safety § 1131. Definitions

As used in this subchapter:

(1) “Abuse” means the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish and includes all of the following:

a. Physical abuse.--“Physical abuse” means the unnecessary infliction of pain or injury to a patient or resident.  “Physical abuse” includes hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, or pulling hair.  If any act constituting physical abuse has been proven, the infliction of pain is presumed.

b. Sexual abuse.--“Sexual abuse” includes any sexual contact, sexual penetration, or sexual intercourse, as those terms are defined in § 761 of Title 11 , with a patient or resident by an employee or volunteer working at a facility.  It is not a defense that the sexual contact, sexual penetration, or sexual intercourse was consensual.

c. Emotional abuse.--“Emotional abuse” means the use of oral, written, or gestured language that includes disparaging and derogatory terms to patients, residents, their families, or within their hearing distance, regardless of their age, ability to comprehend, or disability.  “Emotional abuse” includes the violation of resident rights and privacy through the posting of inappropriate materials on social media.  “Emotional abuse” includes all of the following:  ridiculing, demeaning, humiliating, or cursing at a patient or resident;  punishment or deprivation;  or threatening a patient or resident with physical harm.

d. 1. Medication diversion.--“Medication diversion” means the knowing or intentional interruption, obstruction, or alteration of the delivery, or administration of a prescription drug to a patient or resident, if both of the following apply:

A. The prescription drug was prescribed or ordered by a licensed independent practitioner for the patient or resident.

B. The interruption, obstruction, or alteration occurred without the prescription or order of a licensed independent practitioner.

2. “Medication diversion” does not mean conduct performed by any of the following:

A. A licensed independent practitioner or licensed health-care professional who acted in good faith within the scope of the individual's practice or employment.

B. An individual acting in good faith while rendering emergency care at the scene of an emergency or accident.

(2), (3)  Repealed by 81 Laws 2018, ch. 206, § 32 .

(4) “Facility” means all of the following:

a. Any facility required to be licensed under this chapter.

b. Any facility operated by or for the State which provides long-term care residential services.

c. The Delaware Psychiatric Center and hospitals licensed by the Department under §§ 5001 and 5136 of this title.

d. Any hospital as defined under Chapter 10 of this title.  “Hospital” is included in the definition of facility only for the purposes and application of this section and § 1136 of this title.

(5) “Financial exploitation” means the illegal or improper use of a patient's or resident's resources or financial rights by another person, whether for profit or other advantage.

(6) Repealed by 81 Laws 2018, ch. 206, § 32 .

(7) “High managerial agent” means an officer of a facility or any other agent in a position of comparable authority with respect to the formulation of the policy of the facility or the supervision in a managerial capacity of subordinate employees.

(8) “Investigation” means the collection of evidence in response to an allegation of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or financial exploitation of a resident or patient to determine if that resident or patient has been abused, neglected, mistreated, or financially exploited.  The Department shall develop protocols for its investigations which focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of the patient or resident and which satisfy the requirements of this chapter.

(9) “Licensed independent practitioner” means a physician or an individual licensed and authorized to write medical orders under Chapter 17 or Chapter 19 of Title 24 and who is providing care for the patient or resident or is overseeing the health care provided to the resident.

(10) “Mistreatment” means the inappropriate use of medications, isolation, or physical or chemical restraints on or of a patient or resident.

(11) “Neglect” means the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.  Neglect includes all of the following:

a. Lack of attention to physical needs of the patient or resident including toileting, bathing, meals, and safety.

b. Failure to report patient or resident health problems or changes in health problems or changes in health condition to an immediate supervisor or nurse.

c. Failure to carry out a prescribed treatment plan for a patient or resident.

d. A knowing failure to provide adequate staffing which results in a medical emergency to any patient or resident where there has been a documented history of at least 2 prior cited instances of such inadequate staffing within the past 2 years in violation of minimum maintenance of staffing levels as required by statute or regulations promulgated by the Department, all so as to evidence a wilful pattern of such neglect.

(12) “Person” means a human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, an entity, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a government, or governmental instrumentality.

(13) Repealed by 81 Laws 2018, ch. 206, § 32 .

(14) “Prescription drug” means a drug required by federal or state law or regulation to be dispensed only by a prescription, which means a lawful written or verbal order of a practitioner for a drug, including finished dosage forms and active ingredients, subject to § 503(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ( 21 U.S.C. § 353(b) ).


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