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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 21 / 149





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Screening tools may have several limita- tions. For instance, some tools are devel- oped only for research purposes, some have low efficiency in clinical settings, the sensitivity and specificity rates of some are not addressed fully, and physicians do not use some because they are too long, their vocabulary is inappropriate or they are de- signed for home use. e requirements for a detection tool are thus high: It should be practical, be easy and quick to administer, have appropriate and clear wording suit- able for different contexts, and show a high sensitivity rate.

Screening tools by themselves are not enough, however. For professionals to be able to use the tools effectively, they need to be aware of the problem and its conse- quences and to have access to strategies to intervene and achieve positive outcomes for individuals. Among the obstacles physi- cians must overcome in order to detect elder abuse are a lack of awareness of the problem, insufficient knowledge about how to identify or follow up a potential case of abuse, ethical issues, time constraints, and the victim’s possible reluctance to report to physicians. It is crucial, therefore, not only to raise PHC professionals’ awareness but also to equip them with sufficient training and intervention strategies enabling them to react appropriately when a person is at risk of being abused or neglected. Above all, they need the confidence to overcome the very real barriers that prevent detection and intervention.

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