Monday, June 13, 2016

Change needs to happen to protect seniors from being abused

It was not just the fresh bruises on the 70-year-old patient’s arms and legs that triggered the doctor’s suspicions. The elderly patient had also shut down and averted his gaze when the doctor questioned him about them. His son also refused to leave the patient’s side, which caused the doctor to suspect that it might be a case of elderly abuse.

But there was not much that the doctor could do. He could not verify his suspicions, and he realised the elderly man might not want to complain as he was reliant on his caretakers.

This is the dilemma faced by family and primary care practitioners when presented with cases of possible abuse and neglect of the elderly.

“When it comes to children or women who suffer abuse, there are clear protocols and guidelines on how doctors should respond. But when it comes to elder abuse, there are none,” says Universiti Malaya (UM)’s Medical Faculty’s Primary Care Department lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Sajaratulnisah Othman.

Doctors are trained to handle child and domestic abuse cases but have no guidelines to follow up on suspicions of elder abuse.

They know, for example, that under the Child Act 2001 they are required to report any concerns or suspicions that a child may have been abused or neglected to child protection authorities, be it the police or social welfare officers.

However, it is not mandatory to report elder abuse.

The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

Although under-reported, a study by Dr Sajaratulnisah and her colleagues in UM reveals an alarmingly high prevalence of elder abuse in Malaysia: up to one in 10 cases in urban areas and one in 20 cases in rural communities.

The Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect Initiative (Peace) is a multi-disciplinary study by researchers from the university’s medical and law faculties which aims to measure and document incidence of elder abuse, determine risk factors, study the consequences and formulate strategies to deal with the issue. (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Change needs to happen to protect seniors from being abused


Selena said...

Thank you for always raising awareness to elder abuse in general, NASGA!

Anonymous said...

National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. These last items are valuable but they miss the focus . It deflects away from what is going on to the people caught in the trap.