Elder Abuse: The Defining Report from the CDC and The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

elder-abuse-surveillanceRecently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) jointly introduced a publication regarding Elder Abuse. The publication states, “[it] is intended to serve as a starting point for advancing surveillance, research, and practice aimed at preventing” Elder Abuse.

What This Means

The report, titled Elder Abuse Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Core Data Elements, does several things for defining Elder Abuse, including:

  1. Provides a Uniform Definition of Elder Abuse – Elder Abuse, not unlike other kinds of abuse, can sometimes be subjective or even unclear. Part of that is due to an inconsistant definition. The recent publication clearly defines Elder Abuse, including the many aspects of Elder Abuse as well as financial abuse (such as breach of conservatorship, financial misappropriation, and undue influence).
  2. Creates National Surveillance – According to the CDC report, “the goals of Elder Abuse surveillance are to obtain an estimate of the number of people who are affected by Elder Abuse and to describe the characteristics of people affected, the number and types of Elder Abuse episodes, the associated injuries, and other consequences.”
  3. Standardizes Terminology – Agencies like Adult Protective Services, local and state Law Enforcement and long-term care facilities often run into communication barriers due to a lack of standardized terminology.
  4. Registers Previously Collected Data – The joint report compiles previously collected data and statistics.
  5. Unifies Collected Data – Data collected by national, state, and local agencies is centralized.
  6. Leads to National Measurable Data – Moving forward, there is national, measurable data that can be used to improve legislature, help report and prevent Elder Abuse and provide resources for the agencies and elderly they protect and/or provide for.

The Significance This Shows

According to the CDC, defining Elder Abuse (EA) “can make it possible to more fully describe EA’s scope and nature, expand knowledge about its developmental history (by allowing individual’s interactions with, movement through, or use of different systems to be tracked), and document the outcomes of persons who have perpetrated or experienced EA and have interacted with specific systems or received specific services.”

After understanding exactly what Elder Abuse is, it’s crucial to recognize and address nursing home abuse as quickly as possible. Seeking the help of an Elder Abuse attorney, can end the victimization of an elderly friend or family member.

Defining Elder Abuse

According to the CDC and NCIPC report, Elder Abuse and the various aspects of Elder Abuse should be uniformly defined as:

Elder

  • A person who is 60 years or older.
  • Note, 60 years old is the age of eligibility under the Older American’s Act.

Elder Abuse

  • “An intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.”
  • Includes: emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

  • Verbal or nonverbal behavior that results in the infliction of anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress, that is perpetrated by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.”
  • Includes: harassment, humiliation, isolation, and threats.

Physical Abuse

  • “The intentional use of physical force that results in acute or chronic illness, bodily injury, physical pain, functional impairment, distress, or death.”
  • Includes: hitting, biting, pushing, burning, hair pulling and abuse of medications.

Sexual Abuse

  • “Forced and/or unwanted sexual interaction (touching and non-touching acts) of any kind with an older adult.”
  • Includes: voyeurism and sexual harassment (verbal or behavioral).

Neglect

  • “Failure by a caregiver or other person in a trust relationship to protect an elder from harm or the failure to meet needs for essential…care.”
  • Includes: medical care, safety, nutrition, shelter, and hygiene.

Getting Help

If you are concerned that a friend, family member, or loved one has been suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to contact an experienced California Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps. San Diego Elder Abuse attorney Christopher Walton has built a reputation for providing compassionate and strong advocacy for victims of Elder Abuse and their families. For a confidential consultation, please (866) 338-7079.