Recognizing elder abuse and neglect.


The signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect may mimic the signs and symptoms of many common chronic medical conditions in elderly persons. A complete assessment for elder abuse and neglect is time consuming and is best performed as a regimented evaluation that includes separate histories from the patient and suspected party and a clinical assessment that emphasizes function, cognition, and specific aspects of the physical examination. The management of elder abuse and neglect should be multidisciplinary with several key personnel participating. An elderly person in immediate danger should be removed from his or her environment. For less acute cases, a variety of interventions aimed at decreasing the stress of caregiving or ameliorating other family stressors may be appropriate. Most states require that clinicians who suspect elder abuse and neglect report their concerns to a designated authority. There are many gaps in our knowledge about elder abuse and neglect. It is hoped that with the future application of rigorous epidemiologic methodology as has been employed in the study of child abuse, this social ill can be better understood and prevented. Until then, clinicians must integrate their clinical experience and social skills to recognize the problem and provide thoughtful and compassionate intervention.

Cite this paper

@article{Lachs1993RecognizingEA, title={Recognizing elder abuse and neglect.}, author={Mark S. Lachs and Terry Fulmer}, journal={Clinics in geriatric medicine}, year={1993}, volume={9 3}, pages={665-81} }