Abuse frequently leads to depression and medical problems in older patients. According to a study, as few as one in 24 cases of abuse against residents age 60 and older were reported to authorities. Identifying victims and intervening can be challenging for doctors and nurses.
In April 2017, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center launched the Vulnerable Elders Protection Team (VEPT), comprised of doctors and social workers who respond to signs of elder abuse. During a hospital visit, a doctor interviews the patient and conducts a physical exam, looking for signs of abuse. Patients who are in immediate danger may be admitted to the hospital until a solution can be found.
During the first three months, more than 35 elders showed signs of abuse, and many were later confirmed to be victims. Changes in housing were made for several of them. VEPT plans to continually improve the program and connect to emergency medical, law enforcement, and criminal justice services while helping other emergency departments set up similar programs.
The full story by Barbara Sadick was originally published in Kaiser Health News.
For more information, contact The Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging at NYP Weill Cornell, (212) 746-7000.