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Health practitioner awareness of elder abuse risk factors

McDonald, T.T.A., 2018

ARNA Conference, Leura, Australia


Background: Practitioners involved in rehabilitation and enablement therapies are at the front line of the effort to build resilience among older adults who have endured some challenge to their health or functional capacity. Such circumstances pose risks of attracting predatory behaviours from people they may know or be related to and therefore there is an increased likelihood of different types of abuse, exploitation or neglect. Because of the nature of elder abuse, Little is known about the extent to which it is occurring because of older people’s reluctance, for many reasons, to report being abused.

Objective: To analyse the categorical data from the elder Abuse Hotline and Resource Unit (EAHRU) in NSW to determine patterns of abuse, context and those involved according to the callers to the EAHRU callers.

Methods: Methods: Categorical data analysis to

  1. summarise univariate data within the cleansed data set
  2. explore associations within the cleansed data set
  3. identify trends in univariate data to show alleged activity and type, over time and location
  4. test associations and identify risk factors for abuse of older people
  5. thematic analysis of text describing capacity of alleged abuser and the older person where provided

Results: Of the 4710 calls recorded during a three-year period, 3873 were analysed as notifications of suspected abuse. Strong statistical reliability is noted throughout the analysis and associations between caller, suspected abuser, type of abuse and context variables. The results apply to associations between categories rather than to the broader population.

Conclusions: The EAHRU data collection is an ongoing data collection in NSW focused on elder abuse. Some of the statistics contained in the report are limited by sample size; issues with operationalization of variables; and data collection problems. Practitioners supporting older adults to reduce vulnerability need to be aware of the association patterns within this dataset so that they are able to intercede where necessary for their patients.

CITATION McDonald, T. (2018) Health practitioner awareness of elder abuse risk factors. Keynote address. 28th National Conference of the Australian Rehabilitation Nurses Association (ARNA). Leura NSW. 18-19 October


Last updated 18/11/2019
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