A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Annex 4: Summaries of country reports
Summary of report from Australia
Focus groups with older people
is report is based on the views of 23 senior people from Victoria, Australia. ree focus group discussions were held, consisting of, respectively, a mixed group of eight males and females, a group of seven females, and a group of eight males. Most of the participants were recruited from three seniors’ organizations. Participants’ ages ranged from 65 years to 84 years.
A number of general and often related issues emerged from the discussions and are likely to have influenced responses to individual questionnaire items:
e questions as written come across as
somewhat stilted and formal and some- times are expressed too “clinically”.
Older people’s dependency on their carers could prevent open and honest answers regarding abuse.
Not all general practitioners have the skills to ask the questions in a sensitive way that does not alienate, embarrass or potentially silence an older person.
Pressures on general practitioners’ time and patients’ costs were identified as po- tential problems. Participants thought it unlikely that the 12 questions could be asked in a single visit.
A recurring theme in the mixed group was the participants’ awareness of the subtle and not so subtle changes in the way society regarded them as being “less of a person” as they aged.
It is becoming less likely that older people have a consistent and close rela- tionship with a doctor who knows them well.
What are the next steps for general practitioners if they establish a suspi- cion of abuse? is was thought to be an issue of determining which agency is best placed to support an older person.
e most relevant questions chosen by the
groups were Questions 8, 11 and (equally) 4, 5 and 6 (in order of relevance).