Recognition of elder abuse and neglect among health care professionals has been a relatively recent phenomenon. Each year, millions of elderly persons suffer as the result of abuse and neglect. Their quality of life is severely jeopardized in the form of worsened functional status and progressive dependency, poorly rated self-health, and feelings of helplessness and from the vicious cycle of social isolation, stress, and further psychologic decline. Other medical implications of abuse and neglect include higher health system use in the form of frequent ER visits, higher hospitalization, and higher nursing home placement; most importantly, it is an independent predictor for higher mortality. Physicians are well situated for detecting and reporting suspected cases and for taking care of the frail elders who are victims of abuse and neglect, but there are many barriers on the individual level, and there is a broader need for system change. Through education, training, and reinforcement, there are strategies to get health care professionals more involved and provide effective management protocols and guidelines for us to advocate for our patients in the current epidemic of elder abuse and neglect.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology