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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 139 / 149





139 / 149

PAGE 124

individual rights and autonomy. e lack o f r e s o u r c e s t e n d s t o p u t t h e o l d e r p e r s o n viewpoint in an unfavourable light and force frontline workers to judge situations from the perspective of the family. s

Overall, the risk indicators are useful as a list, but for doctors it would not be ad- equate to call it a diagnostic guide as the in- dicators were not specific enough. Greater preference was given to a checklist that could be used at the end of the assessment.

Furthermore, it was suggested that the risk factors identified in Chapter 2.1 should also comprise the following: mental illness, his- tory of long-term conflicted relationships, high care needs, dementia and other behav- ioural issues that could trigger abuse.

For diagnosis of elder abuse, general prac- titioners and social workers recommended that Table 1.2 in Chapter 2.2 Diagnosis of the problem should adopt a sociomedical diagnosis. is would entail bringing in a pool of general practitioners and social workers with experience in medicine and social work, respectively, for a team discus- sion.

Regarding an intervention plan, it was suggested to create a helpline for general practitioners that they could use to make referrals when they suspect cases of elder abuse. e group stressed the lack of ap- propriate authorities to discuss financial management assistance, guardianship and special court proceedings. Furthermore, the flowchart in Diagram 1.3 was viewed as being slightly rigid.

Different professions see elder abuse dif- ferently. Whereas social workers are more willing to be involved and would want to share with each other their experiences in handling and managing elder abuse cases, PHC professionals are more reluctant to be involved, especially in asking all 12 ques- tions, unless they are older. is may stem either from the lack of time that they have with their patients or from the expected role and responsibilities attached to each profession. ere is a need to reach out to more PHC professionals in Singapore and to increase their levels of knowledge and awareness on elder abuse.

Having a set of questions in the form of the tested questionnaire is critical. However, general practitioners need to know how they can refer to other professionals, such as social workers, in order to be able to handle and manage suspected cases. ere is also a need to review the role of nurses in this process of detecting elder abuse cases. However, there may be ethical consider- ations in this area, and current Singapore law does not require mandatory reporting.

  • ere is a definite need to translate any

instrument into the different languages used in Singapore, otherwise general prac- titioners and other healthcare professionals may find it difficult to ask older people the questions.

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