Elder Abuse as a Risk Factor for Hospitalization in Older Persons

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with XinQi Dong, MD MPH

APSA Congressional Policy Fellow/Health and Aging Policy Fellow
Chair, IOM Global Violence Prevention Forum on Elder Abuse
Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Administration on Aging
Senior Policy Advisor (OCSQ), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Director, Chinese Health, Aging and Policy Program
Associate Director, Rush Institute for Healthy Aging
Associate Professor of Medicine, Nursing and Behavioral Science
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL 60612

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Dong and Simon investigated the prospective association between elder abuse and rate of hospitalization in a Chicago community population. From the Chicago Health and Aging Project, the study surveyed 6,674 older adults. After consideration of potential confounding factors, elder abuse victims compared to those without elder abuse had 2.7 times more frequent rate of hospitalizations in this Medicare population. Older adults who suffered psychological abuse, financial exploitation and caregiver neglect also had more frequent rate of hospitalization. Health care professionals should consider screening for elder abuse in hospital settings. Future research is needed to quantify impact of elder abuse and broader health service utilization in community-dwelling older persons. Elder abuse and neglect is something hundreds of thousands of senior citizens suffer from. It is advised to act if you suspect elder abuse is occurring by contacting the police. People may also see it fit to enlist the services of an elder neglect attorney to fight for the rights of the elderly (siegel-law-elder-abuse-neglect-attorney).

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Our findings have clinical implications for health care providers in screening, prevention, and intervention of elder abuse case. Health care providers focus on preventive care and rigorous management of chronic medical co-morbidities in order to avoid unnecessary hospitalization and health services use. It is interesting in our findings that caregiver neglect had a potentially stronger association with the rate of hospitalization. Health care professionals should consider screening for elder abuse among older patients who may have frequent encounters with hospitals, as well as those who present to hospital settings for dehydration, malnutrition, delirium, skin ulcers. In addition, health care providers should be trained on the importance of screening for elder abuse as it could be integrated into the routine history and physical examination for older patients. Close monitoring of potential elder abuse victims could help health care providers to more closely monitor the patients and devise interventions to prevent unnecessary hospitalization.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Future longitudinal investigations are needed to explore the causal mechanisms between specific subtypes of elder abuse and different forms of health services utilization.


Elder Abuse as a Risk Factor for Hospitalization in Older Persons

Dong X, Simon MA.
JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Apr 8:1-7.
doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.238.
[Epub ahead of print]


Last Updated on September 19, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD