108A-101. Definitions.

(a) The word "abuse" means the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain mental and physical health.

(b) The word "caretaker" shall mean an individual who has the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult as a result of family relationship or who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult voluntarily or by contract.

(c) The word "director" shall mean the director of the county department of social services in the county in which the person resides or is present, or his representative as authorized in G.S. 108A-14.

(d) The words "disabled adult" shall mean any person 18 years of age or over or any lawfully emancipated minor who is present in the State of North Carolina and who is physically or mentally incapacitated due to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or autism; organic brain damage caused by advanced age or other physical degeneration in connection therewith; or due to conditions incurred at any age which are the result of accident, organic brain damage, mental or physical illness, or continued consumption or absorption of substances.

(e) A "disabled adult" shall be "in need of protective services" if that person, due to his physical or mental incapacity, is unable to perform or obtain for himself essential services and if that person is without able, responsible, and willing persons to perform or obtain for his essential services.

(f) The words "district court" shall mean the judge of that court.

(g) The word "emergency" refers to a situation where (i) the disabled adult is in substantial danger of death or irreparable harm if protective services are not provided immediately, (ii) the disabled adult is unable to consent to services, (iii) no responsible, able, or willing caretaker is available to consent to emergency services, and (iv) there is insufficient time to utilize procedure provided in G.S. 108A-105.

(h) The words "emergency services" refer to those services necessary to maintain the person's vital functions and without which there is reasonable belief that the person would suffer irreparable harm or death. This may include taking physical custody of the disabled person.

(i) The words "essential services" shall refer to those social, medical, psychiatric, psychological or legal services necessary to safeguard the disabled adult's rights and resources and to maintain the physical or mental well-being of the individual. These services shall include, but not be limited to, the provision of medical care for physical and mental health needs, assistance in personal hygiene, food, clothing, adequately heated and ventilated shelter, protection from health and safety hazards, protection from physical mistreatment, and protection from exploitation. The words "essential services" shall not include taking the person into physical custody without his consent except as provided for in G.S. 108A-106 and in Chapter 122C of the General Statutes.

(j) The word "exploitation" means the illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for another's profit or advantage.

(k) The word "indigent" shall mean indigent as defined in G.S. 7A-450.

(l) The words "lacks the capacity to consent" shall mean lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person, including but not limited to provisions for health or mental health care, food, clothing, or shelter, because of physical or mental incapacity. This may be reasonably determined by the director or he may seek a physician's or psychologist's assistance in making this determination.

(m) The word "neglect" refers to a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for himself or herself the services which are necessary to maintain the person's mental or physical health or is not receiving services from the person's caretaker. A person is not receiving services from his caretaker if, among other things and not by way of limitation, the person is a resident of one of the State-owned psychiatric hospitals listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(1), the State-owned Developmental Centers listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(2), or the State-owned Neuro-Medical Treatment Centers listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(3), the person is, in the opinion of the professional staff of that State-owned facility, mentally incompetent to give consent to medical treatment, the person has no legal guardian appointed pursuant to Chapter 35A, or guardian as defined in G.S. 122C-3(15), and the person needs medical treatment.

(n) The words "protective services" shall mean services provided by the State or other government or private organizations or individuals which are necessary to protect the disabled adult from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. They shall consist of evaluation of the need for service and mobilization of essential services on behalf of the disabled adult. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1979, c. 1044, ss. 1-4; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 34; 1987, c. 550, s. 24; 1989, c. 770, s. 29; 1991, c. 258, s. 2; 2007-177, s. 4.)