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J Elder Abuse Negl. 2008;20(3):276-300. doi: 10.1080/08946560801973168.

Development and validation of a tool to improve physician identification of elder abuse: the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index (EASI).

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Department of Family Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital Centre, 3830 Lacombe Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3T 1M5.


This study aimed to develop and validate a brief tool for physician use to improve suspicion about the presence or absence of elder abuse. A literature review on elder abuse, obstacles to its identification, limitations of detection tools, and characteristics of screeners employed by physicians were used to generate elder abuse detection questions for critique by 31 doctors, nurses, and social workers in focus groups. Six resulting questions became the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index (EASI) administered by 104 family doctors to 953 cognitively intact seniors in ambulatory-care settings. Findings were compared to a recognized, detailed elder abuse Social Work Evaluation (SWE) later administered to participants by social workers blinded to the results of the EASI. The EASI had an estimated sensitivity and specificity of 0.47 and 0.75, usually took less than 2 minutes to ask, and 97.2% of doctors felt it would have some or big practice impact. This research is a first phase in the development and validation of a user-friendly tool that might sensitize physicians to elder abuse and promote referrals of possible victims for in-depth assessment by specialized professionals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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