Different Types Of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a growing problem in society and nurses must be knowledgeable about this topic. The intended purpose of this article is to define and discuss the different types of abuse that can be perpetrated against the vulnerable elderly population.
Although I no longer work in the long term care industry, I am still acquainted with people who work in local LTC facilities. My close friend, a nurse manager at a local nursing home, griped to me about a recent state survey that involved two assistant directors of nursing (ADONs) who were unable to name four types of elder abuse when asked by the surveyors. The two ADONs were able to come up with only three different types of abuse. However, the same state surveyor presented this question to a non-nursing department head who promptly identified four types of abuse. I have formed a list of the different types of elder abuse below.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, physical abuse is the use of physical force that might result in injury, pain or impairment. Hitting, striking, punching, slapping, kicking, whipping, burning, shaking, forced feeding, and pushing the elder are examples of physical abuse.
Neglect, a more passive type of abuse, occurs when the perpetrator intentionally or unintentionally withholds care or provides inadequate care to an elder who is unable to care for himself or herself. The elderly person might go without basic needs such as hydration, food, safety, necessary medications, medical care, and other necessities.
Abandonment occurs when a person who has assumed the responsibility of providing care to the elder suddenly walks away from this obligation without finding another qualified individual to take over. In a nutshell, the caregiver is deserting (abandoning) the elderly patient.
Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse and mental abuse; moreover, verbal abuse falls under this umbrella. This type of abuse takes place when a person frightens, belittles, rejects, threatens, isolates, or humiliates the elder. Name-calling, yelling, or keeping the elderly person in a confined space are all examples of emotional abuse.
Financial abuse happens when the perpetrator improperly or unlawfully controls the elder's finances, property, and real estate holdings through misappropriation, forgery, lying, coercion, deception, theft, or withholding access to bank accounts.
Sexual abuse occurs when the perpetrator engages in unwanted sexual activity with the elder through threats, brute force, deception, or taking advantage of a person who lacks the mental capacity to give consent. Sexual abuse can involve penetrative intercourse, fondling, molestation, unwanted touch, unwelcome kissing, exposure of genitalia, and other acts. Sexual misconduct takes place when the perpetrator exploits his or her position or power or authority to persuade the elderly person to participate in unwanted sexual activity.
National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Different types of elder abuse. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/ncearoot/mai..._Of_Abuse.aspxLast edit by Joe V on Nov 11, '12
About TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.
TheCommuter has '11' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 36 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 38,050; Likes: 69,008.Nov 10, '12Thank you for reminding us that elder abuse isn't limited to physical harm, but can include everything from yelling or cursing at a nursing-home resident, to use a trustful nature against a vulnerable elder by cheating her/him, to having sex with a person who lacks decisional capacity.Nov 11, '12I came across another type of abuse that probably did not exist 15-20 years ago due to technological advances: digital abuse.
The use of technology such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated through technology.Nov 11, '12Thanks for the listing. I work at an Assisted Living Facility and while my staff is very caring I think I will share this with them as a reminder on what is not appropriate and will not be tolerated. Thanks again!Nov 11, '12Thanks alot for this listing. I work at an long term care facility. I think everyone should realize how important it is to protect our elderly from any harm. Too many times they are taken advantage of by others and sometimes their own families. I truly appreciate the fact that the facility I work for makes sure the employees are inservice monthly on different types of abuse. Knowing the different types of abuse can only help enhance our knowledge. I think it is also important to make sure it is being reported immediately.Nov 11, '12I recently spent some time in LTC and was sad to see an attitude of "I'll do this (bedchange, bath, etc) because if I don't someone will complain" rather than "I'll do this XXXX because it is best for the person and will make them more comfortable."
I get that CNA type actitivies are hard, heavy, messy, repetitive....but many seem to have lost the concept of the resident as a person and seem to see them as an object and/or annoyance.Nov 12, '12Quote from DawnJI get where you're coming from, but I think the system of most LTC facilities forces the CNAs to act this way. Management doesn't rewardthem for being caring and compassionate. They reward them for performing tasks and making sure arbitrary regulations are met. And in this economy the aides work under the constant threat of dismissal. I'd be more worried about pleasing management and covering my butt, too.I recently spent some time in LTC and was sad to see an attitude of "I'll do this (bedchange, bath, etc) because if I don't someone will complain" rather than "I'll do this XXXX because it is best for the person and will make them more comfortable." I get that CNA type actitivies are hard, heavy, messy, repetitive....but many seem to have lost the concept of the resident as a person and seem to see them as an object and/or annoyance.Dec 13, '13Can you please tell me where you would report elder abuse.? I am an independent contractor and I don't work with any nurses.Dec 13, '13Quote from ladybug888todayDoes your county or prosecutors office have an adult protective services unit? I found a number for adult protective services in my county directory and they were able to help me as a mandated reporter in a similar situation.Can you please tell me where you would report elder abuse.? I am an independent contractor and I don't work with any nurses.
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