Workshop with PHC professionals and social workers
e PAHO workshop group comprised five
social workers and five primary care doc- tors, all coming from the metropolitan area of Madrid.
e participants considered elder abuse as
a social and health problem that could have very different causes and consequences. However, it is rarely addressed in the insti- tutions at which the participants work. One of the main obstacles for doctors is the very limited amount of time they can dedicate to a patient. ey often intervene only in extreme abuse cases. Furthermore, they are rarely familiar with a patient’s living conditions, since home visits by doctors are not common. e social workers reiterated that it is not the institution but the indi- vidual professionals who show an interest in the issue of elder abuse. Professionals are familiar with the issue, either through other abuse types, such as violence against children and women, or because they have encountered some cases in their consulting room.
A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
e main difficulties mentioned by the par-
ticipants in the assessment of elder abuse are a lack of the following:
specific training on elder abuse;
level of awareness and sensitization;
protocols for homogeneous interven-
specific definitions and terminology;
social support for the caregiver;
circulation of information regarding the
existing institutional resources;
general resources to tackle the issue.
For the assessment of elder abuse, social workers use strategies they know from other fields of work, for example risk factors analysis, and knowledge of the patient’s social history and family background. Since they do not have access to patients’ social history forms in hospitals, they miss infor- mation that may be useful for the detection of potential cases. PHC professionals are probably in a better situation to get an idea of the patient’s home and family situation as they often see the whole family in their consultation. e doctors pointed out that intervention strategies must be accompa- nied by training. It was also stressed that the decision-making capacity of an older person has to be considered. In order to counteract elder abuse, the participants felt that social workers could apply intervention methods they know from abuse directed at other groups (gender, child), and doc-