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Multiple Assessments Help Identify Elder Abuse

Three different assessment tools may be needed to identify patients who are at high risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In hospitalized older adults, three assessment tools may be needed to accurately identify those at high risk of elder abuse, especially in cases where patients do not disclose abuse and physicians cannot detect visible signs of abuse, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Miri Cohen, Ph.D., of Haifa University in Haifa, Israel, and colleagues used three assessment tools -- the expanded indicator of abuse (E-IOA) tool, questionnaires looking for evident signs of abuse, and direct experience of abusive behavior -- to evaluate 730 hospitalized adults aged 70 and older and their caregivers.

The researchers found that only 5.9 percent of subjects disclosed abuse even though 21.4 percent had visible signs of abuse. The assessment tools indicated that 32.6 percent were at high risk for abuse. They also found that higher caregiver subjective burden was a predictor of disclosure (odds ratio 1.81), signs of abuse (OR, 1.86) and a high risk of abuse (OR, 1.55).

"The main conclusion from the study is that no single assessment method is optimal," the authors write. "The use of all three assessment tools concurrently is essential to identify older people suffering abuse. Above all, the study stresses the necessity of routine screening for high risk of abuse."

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