Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Categories of Elder Abuse :As described by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA):

• Financial abuse: Misuse of an elderly person's money or assets for personal gain. Acts such as stealing (money, social security checks, possessions) or coercion (changing a will, assuming power of attorney) constitute financial abuse.

• Physical abuse: Any act of violence that causes pain, injury, impairment, or disease, including striking, pushing, force-feeding, and improper use of physical restraints or medication.

• Psychological or emotional abuse: Conduct that causes mental anguish including threats, verbal or nonverbal insults, isolation, and humiliation. Some legal definitions require identification of at least 10 episodes of this type of behavior within a single year to constitute abuse.

• Neglect: Failure of a caretaker to provide for the patient's basic needs. As in the previous examples of abuse, neglect can be physical, emotional, or financial. Physical neglect is failure to provide eyeglasses or dentures, preventive health care, safety precautions, or hygiene. Emotional neglect includes failure to provide social stimulation (leaving an older person alone for extended periods). Financial neglect involves failure to use the resources available to restore or maintain the well-being of the aging adult.

• Sexual abuse: Nonconsensual intimate contact or exposure or any similar activity when the patient is incapable of giving consent. Family members, friends, institutional employees, and fellow patients can commit sexual abuse.

• Self-neglect: Behavior in which seniors compromise their own health and safety, as when an aging adult refuses needed help with various daily activities. When the patient is deemed competent, many ethical questions arise regarding the patient's right of autonomy and the physician's oath of beneficence.

• The miscellaneous category: includes all other types of abuse, including violation of personal rights (failing to respect the aging person's dignity and autonomy), medical abuse, and abandonment.

Monique I Sellas, M.D.

1 comment:

Shannon Munford said...

No one should be exposed to physical abuse, neglect or fraud espeically people in their later years. I do understand many caregivers become fearful, frustrated and even depressed when dealing with the care of an elderly person. Often these emotions are expressed in anger. It would benefit many in this position if they sought out anger management classes.

Shannon Munford