Conference Abstracts

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Front-line health practitioner complicity with families’ abuse of their elders

McDonald, T. A., 2017

ICN Conference, Barcelona, Spain.


Background: Abuse within trust relationships has plagued every society in recorded history. So commonplace is this enactment of power, greed and competition that it is accepted as part of the normal social landscape. Those who refuse to accept can be overwhelmed by the frequency and viciousness of such attacks on vulnerable people and are immobilized by the complexities of this wicked problem. Increased global awareness of child molestation and wife bashing is gaining traction in terms of recalibrating social values to enable reality to be perceived and bring perpetrators to justice for their crimes. The next major focus in policy, education and intervention is to achieve similar outcomes for dealing with abuses on older adults.

The primary enabler of attacks on older people is ageism, a form of bigotry, discrimination and nihilism that occurs within families and societies and devalues certain groups of people who are unable to defend themselves. In civilized societies this would not be a problem however it is my contention that civilization is rapidly being replaced by hedonism and self-serving sophistry.

Objective: Increasing general understanding that normalised ageism permits abuse and must cease, requires across-sectoral strategies that carefully balances the risks of promoting elder abuse with clear messages that such chauvinistic values are not acceptable.

Methods: In this presentation negative positioning is examined as a mechanism for normalising ageism and abuse and the effects of these attacks on the victims. Practitioners and others subscribing to these normalised interpretations can, unknowingly, make prejudicial decisions and provide tacit support to abusers.

CITATION McDonald, T. (2017) Front-Line Health Practitioner Complicity with Families’ Abuse of their Elders. (Paper) International Council of Nurses Conference Barcelona, Spain. 25-31` May, 2017.


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