It appeared that the institutions at which participants worked had policies and/or procedures concerning elder abuse, but the institutional responses were not neces- sarily standardized, systematic or current. In none of the institutions was training mandatory, although it was thought that in some institutions examples of elder abuse may be included in more general training.
e interventions that social workers can
make include enforcing existing legislative provisions depending on the level of sup- port and other resources available.
e SWEF is much more comprehensive
and detailed than the assessment tools currently in use in the institutions where the participants work. Overall, the partici- pants’ views about the usefulness of the Evaluation Form were mixed. e discus- sion below first identifies positive aspects of the Form and then discusses problematic aspects.
Participants thought that the Form was very comprehensive and included many of the factors of which social workers need to be aware. It could serve as a very good prompt- ing tool, helping workers to think about indicators of the different areas of potential abuse. In this respect, it would also be a good resource for training purposes. ere was general satisfaction with the breadth of the areas covered, and no important ques- tions or sections were missing.
However, social workers thought that the Form would be very difficult to admin-
ister. ere was a general consensus that the length and comprehensiveness of the Form provided both practical and theoreti- cal difficulties. Older people may not fully understand what is going on, cognitively, emotionally or intellectually. Furthermore, the participants thought that a key problem with the Form was the difficulty of getting honest answers to many of the questions (e.g. Question 51). To be really useful, it would require a solid, trusting relation- ship with the older person, something that could be built up only over a period of time. For these reasons, various suggestions were made:
e Form could be used over a number of visits, or over a period of time once trust had been built up.
e use of the Form should be indi-
vidualized, depending on the particular circumstances of the older person. Only those parts relevant to the social work- er’s suspicions, e.g. regarding financial abuse or sexual abuse, should be used.
Social workers raised two broader issues concerned with the Evaluation Form:
How does the Form relate to an inter- vention plan? It was suggested that a manual with assessment and interven- tion information should accompany the Form.
Problems with over-assessing people. It was pointed out that minimizing the number of assessment tools is encour- aged in social work, so that people are not asked the same questions by differ- ent people again and again.