A study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine finds a clear association between elder abuse and hospitalization rates.4
Unadjusted mean annual rate of hospitalization was 1.97% for those with reported elder abuse to social service agencies among 6,674 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project between 1993 and 2010.4 That rate was more than three times the rate for those without reported abuse.
The authors define elder abuse to include physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, caregiver neglect, and financial exploitation. Its identification as a risk factor for increased hospitalizations poses important policy implications for the need to identify elder abuse and caregiver neglect, says lead author XinQi Dong, MD, a researcher and geriatrician at Rush University in Chicago. Hospitalists, according to Dr. Dong, should consider screening patients who present with dehydration, malnutrition, delirium, and skin ulcers.
Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in San Francisco
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- Dong XQ, Simon MA. Elder abuse as a risk factor for hospitalization in older persons. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Apr 8:1-7. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.238 [Epub ahead of print].
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