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Health Care Systems

Health care professionals have a unique relationship with elders and people with disabilities. Physicians, nurses, dentists, public health clinicians, and other health care professionals are often in a position to identify and address abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In many cases, health care providers are the most knowledgeable about a person’s physical and mental health care needs and how well these needs are being met.

Health care organizations strive to target members in need of specialized services that are designed to address needs that could put them at risk for decline and hospitalization. These screenings and care management activities are likely to also discover risks associated with abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation. Multidisciplinary teams in health care settings are well-positioned to detect health changes that are the result of both intentional and unintentional mistreatment. By diagnosing the issues, the health care team can assess and intervene, involving protective services when indicated.

Abuse, neglect, and exploitation have serious physical and mental health effects that necessitate both treatment, and more importantly, prevention strategies. Practitioners and researchers have been exploring methods for identifying and preventing abuse in older and disabled adults, including lessons learned from child abuse and domestic violence.

Read about special issues related to elder mistreatment, health care professionals, and the healthcare system:

Read about research on physical and mental health concerns in elder mistreatment: