This study examined emergency medical technicians' (EMTs') experience in detecting and reporting elder abuse, based on qualitative data collected from 11 EMTs and 12 Adult Protective Services (APS) caseworkers who participated in one of five semi-structured focus groups.
Elder abuse and neglect are highly under-reported in the United States. This may be partially attributed to low incidence of reporting among emergency medical technicians' (EMTs'), despite state-mandated reporting of suspected elder abuse. Innovative solutions are needed to address under-reporting. Results from the current study suggest that EMTs may be uniquely situated to serve as surveillance personnel in identifying elder abuse and neglect. EMTs are eager to work with APS to address the under-reporting of elder abuse and neglect, but training is minimal and current reporting procedures are time-prohibitive, given their primary role as emergency healthcare providers. Future studies should translate these findings into practice by identifying specific indicators that predict elder abuse and neglect for inclusion on an automated reporting instrument for EMTs. Elder abuse and neglect are under-reported in the United States. This may be partially attributed to the low incidence of reporting among EMTs, despite state-mandated reporting of suspected elder abuse. Innovative solutions are needed to address under-reporting. 1 table and 33 references (Publisher abstract modified)
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