Elder Abuse and Neglect

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Elder Abuse and Neglect
Teresa Martini
Rasmussen College

Author Note
This research paper is being submitted on December 8, 2011, for Mara Pehkonen’s M230 Medical Law and Ethics Course.

Elder abuse is the most common type of abuse that gets looked over. People normally do not suspect or even think an elderly person may be getting abused, but this is a serious topic in nursing homes and hospitals. Every health care professional needs to learn the warning signs and symptoms of elder abuse to prevent this from happening.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult (NCEA, 2011). It varies from state to state, but it is pretty much the same. There are several accounts of maltreatment that led policy makers to pass a series of laws that are intended to protect elderly victims. HR 577 IH – Elder Abuse Prevention Act (Introduced in House – IH), was put in front of the House of Representatives on February 9, 2011. This Act may be cited as the “Elder Abuse Prevention Act” (The Library of Congress, 2011).

Tens of thousands of the elderly are being abused in the United States. More than half a million reports of abuse against the elderly reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported. The reason is as these seniors become older they lose the ability to fight back when they are bullied or attacked. They are more physically frail and they may not see or hear as well as they used too. This leaves openings for their relatives, friends, or even their caregivers at care facilities, to take advantage of them. Elder abuse can take place anywhere. It most often takes place where the senior lives. The abusers are usually their family members, such as their adult children, grandchildren, or spouses of the senior. Abuse can also take place in institutional settings, like...
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