In the new study, "psychological abuse and caregiver neglect were the principal significant culprits for hospitalization," she pointed out. According to Wolf-Klein, prior studies have echoed these findings and have suggested a need to spot elder abuse early, before seniors require treatment in an emergency department.
"Recognition of abuse in its specific subtypes, whether it be psychological, physical, financial or neglect, as well as appropriate reporting to social services agencies remains a critical challenge for health care professionals," Wolf-Klein said.
"The ultimate goal for our society is to enable these social services agencies to provide overwhelmed caregivers of older adults with the support they need on a daily basis, in order to successfully manage the complex demands of frail patients totally dependent on others and painfully vulnerable during their last years of life," she added.
The study was published April 8 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The U.S. National Center on Elder Abuse provides more information on elder abuse.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCES: Theresa A. Soriano, MD, MPH, director, Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program and Chelsea-Village House Call Program and associate professor of medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD, director, geriatric education, North Shore-LIJ Health System, New Hyde Park, NY; JAMA Internal Medicine, news release, April 8, 2013.
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