Posts Tagged ‘Forensic Nursing Elder Abuse Neglect’

Elder Abuse

February 27, 2013

Elder abuse is an umbrella term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial or material exploitation or abandonment. Elder abuse can happen within the family. It can also happen in settings such as hospitals or nursing homes or in the community. Elder abuse is a serious problem in this country, affecting as many as 2 million elderly persons. Elder abuse occurs among all racial, ethnic and economic groups. Healthy, as well as frail, aging adults may be victimized. Although elderly men may be victims, the profile of the older adult at greatest risk for abuse is a disabled woman, older than 75 years of age, who is physically, socially or financially dependent on others. Perpetrators may be acquaintances, sons, daughters, grandchildren or others. Most often, physical and emotional abuse stems from stressful caregiving situations. Abuse is also associated with a family history of violence, alcohol or substance problems and emotional or cognitive dysfunction of the abused and/or perpetrator. All elderly patients should be screened for abuse in privacy. An abuser may be reluctant to leave the patient’s side or become angry, overprotective or defensive. Questions about abuse are less threatening when asked, matter-of-factly, in the context of a social history. To ease into a more in-depth screening for abuse, you might say, “Just to make sure you’re okay, we ask all patients questions related to their safety.” A full inspection of the elder’s body should be performed. After assessing and screening the patient, the elder’s response, as well as any suspicious assessment findings should be documented in detail. Being alert for patterns of abuse, as well as paying attention to the patient and caregiver’s interactions, are essential when caring for elderly patients. Additionally, reporting suspected elder abuse is the law in all 50 states. Healthcare providers must know the system for reporting suspected abuse in their state. Although elder abuse occurs to a lesser extent in healthcare facilities, maltreatment in institutions also needs to be policed and violators reported. Dunlap, MAEd, RN, M. (2008). Assessment of elderly abuse. Grown Up, volume 13 (3).

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CDC and Healthy Aging

February 24, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a very nice website. Their mottos are saving lives, protecting people, and saving money through prevention.

The has a subpage titled Healthy Aging. It is packed with information (too much for my seniors). I see Health Aging Topics with a dozen links to topics. I see Interactive Data Tools with its 3 links. There is a Listserv link. There is also contact information.

I am especially interested in subtopics related to senior citizens. I clicked on the “More” link for Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap. It took me to the CDC Features subpage. I see “Clinical Preventive Services for Older Adults.” From here, I see a link to “Injury, Violence, and Safety.” It is not very clear and user-friendly the way the sub-paging is laid out.

Now, I am at CDC Features and subpage Injury, Violence, and Safety. I realize this new page is a general page and not the older adults page. However, I see topics of interest such as Older Drivers (2 separate editions), Elder Abuse (2 separate editions), and Fall Risks for Older Adults.

Even with the CDC site being very large, it can still be made user-friendly, especially for the seniors.

Senior citizens may also be interested in Medicare Supplemental Insurance.

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A Form of Elder Abuse that goes unnoticed

September 29, 2011

Understanding Elder Abuse is a topic that is now a hospital competency for healthcare workers. As a nurse in the ED there are situations where the abuse is evident and other times more subtle and seen through the interactions between the elderly patient and his/her family. What about those families that bring grandma or grandpa to the ED right before a Holiday with a list of symptoms that guarantee an admission? Only for us, the staff to hear the family tell us they are going out of town for the Holidays and won’t be available for X number of days. It is a situation that, when assessed, is a form of Elder Abuse. It happens more often with those elderly patient’s who are not able to verbalize well, have dementia/Alzheimer’s or cannot speak for themselves. With an overhaul of the healthcare system there will have to be an overhaul of the social services in this country because without it there will be no way to provide safe, effective and complete care to the most vulnerable in our population.

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