A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
ey were too medicalized in approach. Using the word “treatment” makes elder abuse sound like a disease, whereas it is a social syndrome with many facets. e focus should be on removing or lessen- ing the harm caused to the older person by the perpetrators of abuse.
Referrals would be to a hospital or com- munity social work department, aged care assessment team or, in some cases, police or emergency services. Health professionals would not therefore neces- sarily be involved in court protective orders.
is was considered to be essentially a crisis model, whereas monitoring and prevention are also important, and, if possible, help via a change of living cir- cumstances for the older person, or the re-education or removal of an abusive caregiver.
Diagram 1.3: intervention
accepting services. It was also stressed that the whole picture and not an isolated event needs to be assessed.
Key points to remember
e participants pointed out that elder
abuse in all its forms is actually well known within the health profession in Australia. However, due to funding constraints, there are often not enough services to support interventions for both the victim and the perpetrator of elder abuse.
e participants concluded that the PAHO
manual was not considered appropriate for use in Australian conditions for the follow- ing main reasons:
Inadequate definition of all forms of abuse – less comprehensive than Victorian usage.
Rather simplistic medicalized approach focusing too much on physical symp- toms.
It appears to be essentially a “crisis model”.
ere are no adult protective services in Australia and no mandatory reporting of elder abuse.
Australia is well aware of all facets of elder abuse, and health-care profession- als do a more comprehensive assessment than what is presented here.
Often it is not a doctor or nurse who as- sesses or assists a victim of abuse. Aged care services are networked and com- plex in Australia.
e focus on educating the victim was not
felt to be as helpful as referring the perpe- trator to rehabilitation, education or cor- rective services. Also, the preferred terms were a provision of “options” or “assistance”, rather than “interventions”, as an interven- tion seemed to remove the agency from the older person.
Apart from the fact that there was no over- all adult protective services system, a main issue not addressed adequately in Diagram 1.3 was that of ensuring the victim’s safety, particularly for patients who did not have the capacity to decide for themselves about