Elderly Abuse in the Emergency Department
Cognitive impairment limits older adult’s ability to advocate for themselves, which can cause the increase of elderly abuse. Some of these elderly people usually end up in the emergency department showing signs of injury such as falls which can be present as signs of suspicious abuse. In 2007, unintentional injury was the ninth leading cause of death in the age of patients 65 and over, but not all injuries are unintentional or accidental. The authors reveal that falls were the seventh leading cause of violence. The purpose of the article is to help health care professionals differentiate between accidental injuries and suspicious injuries. (Ziminski, Phillips, & Woods, 2012)
Elderly patients that are seen in trauma centers are most likely victims of severe, traumatic abuse showing signs of penetrating injuries to the head and torso compared to those with non- abuse related injuries. The reason it is important to examine the relationship between injuries is because this will help the nurse distinguish between common accidental injuries and intentional injuries. The authors describe that elderly people with cognitive impairments are at a greater risk for elderly abuse than the general adult population. The authors believe that injury patterns should be examined by health professionals working at the emergency department because this can help to identify potential victims of elderly abuse. (Ziminski, Phillips, & Woods, 2012)
The authors reveal that abuse for elderly people is more challenging to identify in society, as elderly do not have mandatory connections such as school, work, or community interactions. Moreover, staff in the emergency department are more likely to recognize child prote...
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...ve the appropriate training to identify signs and symptoms of abuse, report it to the primary doctor, and provide support or guidance to the elderly. Providing the adequate information about the risks of abuse to the family and the patient is also very important.
Economic, emotional, and physical dependence makes many victims of abuse reluctant to betray their abuser. This makes them the perfect targets for all forms of abuse. However, many elderly people are afraid to suffer further damage if they accuse their attacker. Most of the time the elderly are frequently in situations of isolation or helplessness, and often the abusive person is a close relative. These factors usually affect their quality of life, and especially their self -esteem. Loneliness and isolation are one of the greatest fears in elderly people, which may lead them to accept any type of abuse.
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