New Report on Elder Abuse

June 29, 2017 Hull & Hull LLP Elder Law, Elder Law Insurance Issues, Health / Medical, In the News, Power of Attorney, Uncategorized Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Elderly persons are unquestionably at greater risk of abuse than the general public.  The five general categories of abuse are physical, sexual, psychological or emotional, financial, and neglect.  No doubt such abuse is on the rise, and is an issue that is generating attention worldwide.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) was reported to have taken a substantial step forward through its recent release of a lengthy report addressing abuse of the elderly.

The report includes many recommendations for change, with a focus on the betterment of care provided to those living in care facilities, including improving (i) the reporting and monitoring of abuse, with the process overseen by an independent body, and (ii) quality of care and staffing.

The authors of the article linked to this blog cite that little is known in Australia about the overall number and severity of abuse, with sexual assault being the least acknowledged, detected and reported.  They applaud the ALRC for recommending a national study to explore how common elder abuse is.

Their chief critique of the report, however, is that although it addresses the legal aspects of elder abuse, the impact on health and well-being of the victims is ignored.  Moreover, absent is any comment on whether inappropriate health care is a form of abuse (e.g. using resuscitation against someone’s wishes).

The authors highlight the primary challenge to prevention, which is to equip the legal, healthcare and elder care sectors to better screen, identify and intervene.  As we face similar difficulties, I expect that the initiatives and recommendations made by the ALRC would be well-received in Canada as well.

Thanks for reading,
Natalia Angelini

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