New Spotlight on Elder Abuse and Neglect, Canadian Centre for Elder Law Discussion Paper

Tate California Estate & Trust Litigation Blog, New Spotlight on Elder Abuse and Neglect, Canadian Centre for Elder Law Discussion Paper

June 21, 2011
David Tate, Esq. (San Francisco),,
California Estate & Trust Litigation,

The Canadian Centre for Elder Law has made available a discussion paper for the Division of Aging and Seniors, Public Health Agency of Canada, entitled Moving from Scrutiny to Strategy: An Analysis of Key Canadian Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases.  The paper is written with health care workers, social and community service workers and other health care professionals in mind to help them identify and respond to situations of possible or actual abuse and neglect.  The paper also provides an overview of abuse and neglect, with examples.  You can find the paper at:

The paper is 75 pages, which is too long for my preference.  Nevertheless, the paper helps inform people about the various forms and dynamics of elder abuse and neglect, and encourages them to action.  And, like anything else, it is clear that keeping elder issues in the news is the best way to achieve positive results.  I like that the paper seeks to address not only abuse, but also neglect.  I would have expanded the scope to include not only elders, but also dependent adults.

The following is a brief summary of the paper’s 14 recommendations.  You should click on the paper to read the detail.     

1.  Provide workplace resources, including comprehensive training, in support of health care and social service staff to identify elder abuse and neglect in all its diversity.

2.  Develop or utilize thoughtful resources that support practitioners to make good decisions in complex situations.

3.  Explore what can be done within your own institutions to facilitate the development of a workplace culture that values elder abuse and neglect prevention.

4.  Support health care and social service staff to understand and respond to ageism before it leads to abuse and neglect.

5.  Develop tools, and provide comprehensive training, to support health care and social service workers to make inquiries about abuse and neglect and to document risk.

6.  Ensure health care and social service workers and other staff are able to easily access the appropriate contact numbers for reporting abuse and neglect.

7.  Develop best practices on how to offer services in a non-invasive manner that respects the unique lifestyle choices of each older adult and recognizes the social and emotional factors that make it challenging for adults to disclose abuse or neglect and accept assistance.

8.  Develop policies and protocols to assist front-line staff to apply their discretion to share a client’s or patient’s confidential personal and health information without consent.

9.  Emphasize, in all policies and protocols, the importance of always striving for a patient’s or client’s informed consent to interventions perceived to be in the adult’s best interests.

10.  Ensure all health care and social services professionals who interact with older adults understand the concept of mental capacity.

11.  Develop processes for scrutinizing the adequacy of caregiving relationships that do not involve a professional accountable to an employer or a licensing body.

12.  Offer support services to non-professional, informal, and volunteer caregivers of older adults to enhance their capacity to manage this physically, emotionally and technically challenging responsibility.

13.  Develop protocols and mechanisms to facilitate, in a respectful manner, periodic contact with older adult clients and patients with significant health problems who fail to attend medical appointments or maintain medical follow-ups.

14.  Develop mechanisms to facilitate interagency communications amongst police, health and social services in circumstances where an older adult appears to be at risk of abuse or neglect.


David Tate, Esq. (San Francisco),,
California Estate & Trust Litigation,
Tate’s Blog: Law – Governance – Risk – Business,

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