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Abuse against patients in long-term care, hospice, or home health settings

Reporting to the Department of Public Health

Who must report

Any of the following professionals who is paid for caring for 1) a resident at a long-term care facility* or 2) a patient receiving health, homemaker or hospice services is a "mandatory reporter":

  • Administrator of a nursing home or similar long-term care facility,* home health agency, homemaker agency, or hospice program, or a responsible person in a rest home
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • Health officers
  • Home health aides and homemakers
  • Hospice workers
  • Medical examiners and coroners
  • Nurse aides and orderlies
  • Nurses (RNs and LPNs)
  • Optometrists and opticians
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists and occupational therapists
  • Physician assistants
  • Physicians, medical interns and residents
  • Podiatrists
  • Police officers
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists and audiologists

*Any facility licensed under M.G.L. c.111, §71.

What to report

Any reasonable cause to believe that patient or resident abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or misappropriation of patient/resident property has occurred.

How to report

Immediately make an oral report to your employer/supervisor. In turn, supervisors/employers are required to report the event to DPH, even if the employee making the report is not a mandatory report (e.g., a volunteer).

You also have the option of immediately reporting directly to DPH. If you report to DPH by phone, follow up with a written report within 48 hours. Note that if the report involves suspected misappropriation of patient or resident property (aside from controlled substances), you need not immediately report but must conduct an internal investigation within 48 hours. Report within 48 hours once you find reasonable cause to suspect the misappropriation.


Mandatory Abuse Reporting
(See the section “Patient Abuse in Nursing Homes, Rest Homes, Home Health and Hospice.” Although this is tailored to nurses, it contains useful information for other mandatory reporters.)



Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality
Complaint Specialist
10 West Street
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 1-800-462-5540
Fax: 617-753-8165