Taking Action Against Elder Mistreatment

The National Collaboratory on Elder Mistreatment By Rebecca Jackson Stoeckle and Scott Bane

An initiative in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

E ven as we enter into an era of increasing “age- friendliness,” the estimated one in ten older adults who experience elder mistreatment (EM) (Rosen et al., 2019) (physical, fnancial, psycho­ logical, or sexual abuse or neglect) remain large­ ly unrecognized and uncared for. A confluence of factors drives this disparity. Unlike older adults with other high-risk conditions, persons experi- encing elder mistreatment are much less likely to seek help, due to their impairments, shame, iso- lation, or dependency upon a caregiver who may be the abuse perpetrator. Pervasive ageismmeans that even clinicians may not reflexively respond to elder mistreatment with the urgency, for example, of a response to suspected child abuse. Given this backdrop, the creation of the National Collaboratory to Address Elder Mistreatment (The Collaboratory) has been a long time in com- ing. The most signifcant benchmarks in the feld have included the following: framing elder mis- treatment in a medical paradigm; aligning part- The National Collaboratory to Address Elder Mistreatment

ners at the state level; raising the profle of the issue generally with the public and with policy makers; and working to identify elder mistreat- ment in public hospitals. In 2016, several leaders in the feld came together with the assistance of The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Education Develop- ment Center to form The Collaboratory and to raise the awareness of elder abuse. Their abiding engagement with elder mistreatment, described below, serves as a critical backdrop to The Col- laboratory’s work. Framing EM within the medical model One of the frst methods for ensuring that elder mistreatment is taken more seriously by policy makers and the public has been to frame the issue within a medical model. Elder mistreat- ment had long been known to social scientists and social service organizations, but it had escaped clinicians’ radar. Two leaders of this work have been Laura Mosqueda, a geriatrician, family medicine phy-

abstract This article describes the development of The National Collaboratory on Elder Mistreatment, a joint initiative of the Education Development Center, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Collaboratory’s model uses the hospital emergency room as the point of entry. The article details benchmarks in the field of elder mistreatment prior to the creation of the Elder Mistreatment Emergency Department Care Model, which is undergoing feasibility testing at six sites nationwide, with results expected by early 2021. | key words : National Collaboratory on Elder Mistreatment, Elder Mistreatment Emergency Department Care Model, TEAM Institute

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Volume 44 . Number 1 | 33

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