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J Interprof Care. 2009 Nov;23(6):646-54. doi: 10.3109/13561820902886279.

Professions show different enquiry strategies for elder abuse detection: implications for training and interprofessional care.

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Departments of Family Medicine, McGill University & St. Mary's Hospital Centre, Montreal. Quebec, Canada.


In a project to develop and validate a tool to assist family physicians' identification of elder abuse, nine prospective questions underwent critique and ranking in focus groups comprised of 31 social workers, doctors, and nurses working with elder abuse. Differing attitudes to the questions were discernible amongst the three professions. The social workers' approach appeared based on need to advocate for clients. Nurses' viewpoints seemed influenced by utilitarian concerns for practicality and directness, desire to respect doctors' time constraints, and discomfort that some physicians' questioning might impose on nursing fields of interest. Physicians' concerns tended to be holistic, tempered by practicality and time management issues. However despite such differences expressed during lengthy group discussions, members of all three professions, when asked to independently rank the top five questions, favorably ranked the same five (though not necessarily in the same order). Since there are known barriers to successful elder abuse enquiry the differences and concerns seen in this study may represent another potential obstacle. Programs that address elder abuse might therefore consider sensitizing trainees to the potential predispositions within their own and their colleagues' professions. This proactive strategy might facilitate interprofessional approaches to elder abuse detection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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