The city of Santa Monica, its police department and WISE & Healthy Aging are partnering to ensure that older and disabled adults who are victims of neglect, abuse or isolation receive the help and support they need.

A critical response liaison, funded by the city’s Community Grants Program and provided by WISE & Healthy Aging’s In-Home Care Management Services division, is now assisting in abuse cases that come to the attention of the Santa Monica Police Department, either through its officers on patrol or when contacted by Adult Protective Services or other abuse-reporting entities.

“In a word, the critical response liaison position ensures ‘connectivity,’” said Grace Cheng Braun, president and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging. “Working with the police department, the liaison connects victims of abuse or neglect with programs and services they need within WISE & Healthy Aging and through other social services agencies in the community.

“The liaison also partners with detectives as needed and is available to serve as a victim advocate, which is particularly important in cases where there may be a criminal investigation.”

Santa Monica police Lt. Mike Beautz said, “This collaboration has helped to establish an effective system to address the short- and long-term social service needs of our community’s most vulnerable at-risk population of older and disabled adults.

“The Santa Monica Police Department’s partnership with WISE & Healthy Aging has positively impacted our ability to seamlessly connect clients, as well as our personnel, with experts in the field of aging and ensure timely access to critically needed services.”

The new program is based in WISE’s In-Home Care Management Services division, which works to help seniors and adults with disabilities retain their independence and dignity. The critical response liaison is a specially trained social worker who focuses specifically on referrals made by the police department, taking the lead to coordinate needed services in the home. If the liaison becomes aware of suspected abuse or criminal acts that were not previously reported, they contact police and other appropriate entities.

“The critical response liaison received 18 referrals within the program’s first three weeks,” said Michelle Quiroga-Diaz, director of In-Home Care Management Services.

“We’re finding that because of the delicate and difficult nature of these situations, many clients have a high level of need, which gives us an opportunity to respond with a high level of service and care.”

WISE & Healthy Aging care managers conduct home visits to determine clients’ needs, thoroughly evaluating their emotional, psychological and cognitive status; their ability to perform basic activities of caring for themselves; and safety and environmental issues.

Based on these findings, care managers develop with each client a plan of care and coordinate access to programs, government benefits and other resources that may be needed.

Information, (310) 394-9871.

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