New Study Shows Victims of Elder Abuse, Neglect More Likely To Be Hospitalized

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have concluded that “Elder abuse is independently associated with increased mortality risk, especially for cardiovascular related mortality,” according to Dr. XinQi Dong, geriatrician, and the study’s lead author. The findings of the research were published in the April 8 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

These findings prove that elder abuse plays a role in increasing costs in health care. “Hospitalization is a significant contributor to the rapidly increasing cost in our health care system,” said Dong. “Older adult victims may be put often in situations that could threaten their health and safety, which further increase their likelihood to be more frequently admitted into the hospital.”

According to the report in JAMA Internal Magazine, “The study results indicate an unadjusted mean annual rate of hospitalization for those without elder abuse was 0.62 and for with reported elder abuse was 1.97 hospital admissions per year. After adjusting for socio-demographic, socioeconomic variables, medical co-morbidities, cognitive and physical function, as well as psychological and social well being, reported elder abuse had independent higher rates of hospitalization of a rate ratio of 2.00.

Researchers found that the psychological abuse rate ratio (2.22), financial exploitation (1.75), caregiver neglect (2.43), and two more types of elder abuse (2.59) were independently associated with increased rates of hospitalization. The mean age of those with reported elder abuse was 72.9 years. Those with reported elder abuse were more likely to be women (72 percent), black older adults (89 percent) and have lower levels of education and income.”

“Elder abuse is a serious, common and under-recognized public health and human rights issue,” said Dong. “Given the soaring cost of health care in this country, the results my help health care providers focus on clinical screening, prevention and intervention of elder abuse cases in order to devise targeted strategies to reduce unnecessary utilization of health services.” said Dong.

Under California law, elder abuse can be both a criminal and civil offense. In the broadest sense, criminal elder abuse typically describes the intentional infliction of physical or emotional suffering on an elder and civil elder abuse typically involves any physical or financial abuse, neglect or abandonment resulting in physical or mental harm. However, there is typically cross-over and every situation must be examined closely by somebody with experience in the field.

Christopher C. Walton is a San Diego, California based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been subjected to abuse or neglect in a California nursing home, call (866) 338-7079 to consult with an experienced lawyer. Consultations are free and confidential, and cases are handled on a contingency basis.