What's the elder Abuse Suspicion Index?

Every person who stays in a nursing facility is different. Some are so vocal that they complain about everything -- to the degree that it seems like they're being abused when they're actually not. Others will silently endure lots of horrible and abusive situations without ever saying a word. Still, other residents do not even have the mental or physical capacity to complain about their abuser.

When it comes to detecting if elder abuse is actually happening, few methodologies have been shown to work in a clinical setting. However, the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index has been validated to work -- and physicians should regularly use it to check on the level of care that elderly adults are receiving in nursing homes and hospitals. When using the index, if a patient answers "yes" to one of the following, then it's an indication that further assessment and investigation should be performed.

Here are the questions asked as a part of the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index:

-- Has anyone kept you from receiving clothes, food, glasses, medication, medical care or hearing aids? Or, have you been prevented from spending time with people you wanted to see?

-- Did someone speak to you in a manner that caused you to feel threatened or ashamed, and did that cause you to feel upset?

-- Did someone ask you to sign anything that would cause you to use or spend your money in a way you didn't approve?

-- Has anyone physically hurt you, or touched you in a way you didn't want, or caused you to be afraid?

-- Physicians: Have you noticed poor eye contact, malnourishment, being withdrawn, bruises, cuts, inappropriate clothing, hygiene problems or difficulty complying with medication. Have you noticed this at any point within the last six months?

If the answer is "yes" to any of the above questions, it's time for Tennessee family members to look deeper into the situation. If you or a loved one is suffering from nursing home or elder abuse, know that help is available. You can get the services of a qualified personal injury lawyer to represent you in making a nursing home abuse claim for damages in court.

Source: American Family Physician, "Detecting Elder Abuse and Neglect: Assessment and Intervention," accessed April 21, 2017

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