When an adult, as defined by KRS Chapter 209, is living in conditions, which create a substantial risk of death or could cause immediate and serious physical harm to himself or others the SSW assesses the need for involuntary protective services and requests the least restrictive intervention.
Before the SSW can approach the court for an ex-parte order or file a petition for an emergency protective service order, all of the following conditions must exist:
- The adult lacks capacity and refuses to consent to services;
- The adult is in a state of abuse or neglect and an emergency exists;
- The adult is in need of protective services; and,
- No person is authorized by law or court order to give consent or such person refuses to consent.
If a substantial risk of death or serious physical harm is evident, the SSW determines whether an Emergency Protective Services Order (DPP-251) or an Emergency Protective Order Ex-Parte (DPP-252) needs to be filed by following procedures outlined in SOP 25.2 Involuntary Protective Services.
If a substantial risk of death or serious physical harm is not evident, but an adult is unable to manage personal affairs, financial affairs or to carry out the instrumental activities of daily living, a guardian or conservator may be needed. Court involvement is required to appoint an appropriate guardian/conservator. If family, friends or other interested and qualified individuals are able and willing to serve as guardian or conservator, the SSW may offer consultation or assistance to the individual applying to be appointed as guardian. Department staff may receive orders from the court to serve as a member of an Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) in guardianship/ conservatorship hearings.
When an assessment reveals an adult is in need of hospitalization for behavioral health/developmental disability issues, the SSW counsels the adult to secure voluntary treatment from a mental health center or hospital. Assistance from available family members or caregivers may also be sought. If these efforts are unsuccessful and the individual appears to be dangerous to self or others due to mental illness or developmental disability, involuntary hospitalization may be considered under KRS 202A.026 Criteria for Involuntary Hospitalization (mentally ill) or KRS 202B.040 Criteria for Involuntary Admission (Developmental Disability).