Workshop with social workers and PHC professionals
e PAHO workshop group comprised
three females and two males. All five par- ticipants had experience of working with older people who had been subjected to violence. eir practice environments were quite varied, including a public hospital, community health, aged care facilities, and domestic violence and sexual assault resource centres.
Participants generally agreed with the WHO-CIG definition of elder abuse but felt that effective solutions often needed to focus upon the perpetrator of abuse (rela- tives/caregivers) rather than only on the older person.
ey would add the following abuse catego-
Abandonment and institutionalization,
e. used as a threatened or actual means of controlling the older person.
Family or gendered violence, i.e. the continuation of violence against a wom- an into older age, usually by a partner or other family member.
Decision-making by family members on behalf of the older person.
Financial motivations and family greed.
Using fear of abuse or abandonment to
Numbers refer to sections in the PAHO manual.
A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Hospitals and social work services at which the participants worked were reported to have policies and procedures concerning elder abuse. However, institutional training was not formal, standardized, systematic or compulsory. It was felt that it was largely up to the individual health-care profes- sional to keep up-to-date with these issues and practices. However, the community counsellors’ and activists’ centres provided specific training in domestic violence and sexual assault to health and community care professionals and to local government departments.
General practitioners in private practices and clinics do not work from manuals or guidelines but assess older patients in a general sense and refer them to social work, aged care assessment and other govern- ment or medical geriatric services if there is some suspicion of abuse taking place. It was pointed out, however, that such documents do exist and that all social workers are very aware of them.
Comments on the PAHO manual35:
1. Definition of the problem
In the definition section, some additional details would need to be added in order to make the manual fully effective:
A separate definitional section for sexual abuse.
Physical abuse should include “forced medical treatments or interventions”.