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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To provide recommendations for family physicians on the detection, assessment and management of abuse or mistreatment in patients over 65 years of age. OPTIONS: Detection of elder abuse by history and examination or by specific protocols; intervention through mandatory reporting, removing the victim from the situation or acting as an advocate for the patient. OUTCOMES: Termination of abusive situation and prevention of further abuse. EVIDENCE: A MEDLINE search was conducted with the use of medical subject headings "elder abuse" and "epidemiology" for articles published from January 1980 to October 1992 and headings "elder abuse" and "clinical trials" for articles published from January 1980 to February 1994. Standard references and review articles and their bibliographies were scrutinized, and experts were consulted. VALUES: The evidence-based methods and values of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination were used. Since senior citizens are among the most disadvantaged people in Canadian society, prevention of abuse and promotion of their autonomy were the highest values selected. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: The principal benefits are cessation and prevention of abuse. Potential harms include the loss of a personal residence, the erosion of an established family structure and the loss of autonomy for the victim. RECOMMENDATIONS: There is poor evidence to include case finding for elder abuse in or exclude it from the periodic health examination. However, it is prudent for physicians to be alert for indications of elder abuse and, if such abuse is discovered, to take measures to prevent further abuse.
This article was published in CMAJ
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal