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Significant policy developments during the past 20 years have focused on eliminating abuse.However, a deficit in health care providers’ knowledge and clinical skill application remains.Elder abuse and neglect is a critical health care issue that must be brought to the attention of health care providers and older adults family members.
Several theories attempt to explain the existence and increasing occurrence of elder abuse.
The transgenerational, or social learning, theory asserts that violence is a learned behavior.
Situational theory supports the idea that the greater the burden on caregivers, the more likely caregivers are to abuse.
Exchange theory addresses the dependence of older adults on their caregivers as a risk of abuse, along with inadequate methods of problem solving as an established pattern of family behavior.
Dysfunctional family lives, cultural issues, and caregiver inadequacies have been implicated as contributing factors.
Elder Abuse And Neglect Case Studies
Awareness of such factors may help nurses understand and anticipate situations where maltreatment may be preventable.One community-based, cross-sectional survey reported that 32 of every 1,000 older adults reported that they had experienced some form of maltreatment at least once since reaching age 65 (Pillemer & Finkelhor, 1988).Underreporting is typical with all kinds of abuse, and it is estimated that only 1 in 14 elder maltreatment cases are reported.Fewer research studies exist about the maltreatment of older adults than about other forms of family violence, including child abuse, rape, and intimate partner violence. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging conducted hearings in which victimized older adults gave firsthand testimony of their experiences with abuse. The task force developed an action plan for the identification and prevention of maltreatment of older adults in their own homes, health care facilities, and communities.The earliest reports of elder abuse and neglect in the United Kingdom in the 1970s dramatized case reports of the phenomenon, termed “Granny battering.” The health care community and the public were shocked and appalled. Senate Special Committee on Aging issued a series of reports on abuse and neglect occurring in nursing homes. In 1986, the Institute of Medicine published recommendations for preventing the maltreatment of older adults in institutions, and several years later, the Elder Abuse Task Force was created by the Secretary of the U. The action plan included data collection, research, technical assistance, training, and public education.Many law enforcement agencies and Offices of the District Attorney have investigative staff specifically trained to address abuse of older adults and other vulnerable populations, in collaboration with health care and protective service professionals.Such actions have led to increased public and health care provider awareness about elder abuse and neglect.Individuals who have witnessed or been victims of family violence are more likely to try to resolve challenging and difficult life situations with violent tactics they learned in their formative growth.Although 90% of perpetrators of elder abuse are reported to be family members, this cannot account for all cases (Fulmer, Guadagno, Bitondo, Dyer, & Connolly, 2004).A decade later, studies confirmed that the problem was common in the United States as well. The National Center on Elder Abuse was established as part of the Administration on Aging’s Elder Care Campaign.Adult Protective Services programs now exist in every state to serve vulnerable adults, particularly older adults, who may be at risk for abuse and neglect.