It is believed that 10% of American senior citizens are the victims of elder abuse. It's difficult to catch the perpetrators, because the victims are often isolated and medical care is not regularly sought.
Abusers do not want their victims establishing trusting relationships with primary care physicians since that could lead to the abuse being discovered. Victims rarely receive any care until they have serious injuries and need to go to the emergency room.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that emergency room staff are doing a good job of catching elder abuse. Only 1 in 7,700 visits by elderly patients to emergency rooms results in a report of possible elder abuse, according to CBS News in "Elder abuse often missed in the ER."
This is alarming because it means that many victims of abuse, in Cincinnati and elsewhere, could be treated for injuries caused by their abusers and released back into the care of those abusers. While the primary job of emergency room staff is not to detect elder abuse, they can and should do a better job making sure that injuries suffered by their elderly patients are not the result of abuse.
This new study will hopefully lead to a renewed focus in emergency rooms on this important issue and to increased staff training about how to detect potential elder abuse victims.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: CBS News (Nov. 25, 2016) "Elder abuse often missed in the ER."