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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 108 / 149





108 / 149

Focus groups with PHC professionals

Two focus group discussions were held, one with nurses (seven females) and one with doctors (two females, two males). All the nurses were experienced in dealing with older patients as they were from hospital and nursing services and a university nurs- ing department. e doctors were recruited from a community and private practice and from two large public hospitals.

  • e six most important questions were

considered (mainly by nurses) to be Questions 11, 4, 9, 12 and (equally) 8 and 6 (in order of relevance). ree doctors declined to choose five items as a short questionnaire on the grounds that all areas covered were important, except for Questions 1, 2 and 7.

Question 4: ere was general agreement that this question was important. As with the seniors’ focus groups, however, the health professionals felt that some older people who have experienced abuse might not answer this question sincerely, for example because they fear the loss of an imperfect caregiver who nevertheless helps them to be largely independent. As with all of these questions, answers depend upon the manner in which the health profes- sional conducts the interview.

Although they felt a list of examples was useful to inform the patient what was meant by “needed things”, it was thought this could be done more simply and less threateningly. e phrase “adequate living space” was felt to be too complex and could be omitted.


Participants suggested simplifying the wording of the question “Have you ever felt that you have been prevented from having the things you needed, such as food, medi- cations, glasses or hearing aids?” to “How often do you feel prevented from having the things you need ... ? Would you say ‘never’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘almost always’?”

Question 6: Participants found that the is- sues raised by this question were extremely important in the risk assessment for elder abuse. e question was too complex, how- ever, as it asked about (i) being taken advan- tage of (which could well mean financially), (ii) being prevented from doing things (or wishes not being taken seriously) and (iii) being socially isolated. e point was also made that sometimes it is life events or health problems that curtail the freedoms and choices of older people (such as advice from family or doctors to cease driving a car), but resentment can still follow. ese three issues are all important, but combin- ing them in one question made it difficult to answer. erefore, the issues should be raised separately. Since there were ques- tions regarding financial abuse later on, the first part of the question concerning being taken advantage of might be dropped in favour of the second and third parts.

  • e main discussions in both groups cen-

tred on simplifying the question or sepa- rating it into two main components. ere were also thought to be some unnecessary words such as “close to you” and “for your well-being”.


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