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Invited Commentary
May 27, 2013

Promoting Good Clinical Care to Prevent Elder Abuse : Comment on “Elder Abuse as a Risk Factor for Hospitalization in Older Persons”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Service of Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Rehabilitation, University of Lausanne Medical Center (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(10):917-918. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.289

Elder abuse has received increasing attention over the last 2 decades, and its prevalence will likely increase as the aged population increases. Elder abuse is commonly defined as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.”1 Different types of elder abuse have been defined: (1) physical abuse (infliction of pain or injury); (2) psychological abuse (infliction of mental anguish); (3) sexual assault (nonconsensual contact of any kind); (4) financial exploitation (illegal or improper use of funds or resources), and (5) neglect (failure of a caregiver to meet the needs of a dependant person). Elder abuse may occur in the community, as well as in institutions like nursing homes or hospitals.

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