This article reports on a field test of the Elder Abuse Decision Support System, which is designed to meet the critical need for improved methods for assessment and substantiation of elder mistreatment, using a web-based system with standardized measures.
The field test in six Illinois agencies involved a 1-year pre/post analyses that assessed substantiation results, using Illinois' standard investigation procedure as a comparison. Pre/post acceptability was assessed with caseworkers in focus groups with adult protective service staff. The validity of measures was assessed using Cronbach's alpha and receiver operator characteristic curve analyses with final substantiation decision as a criterion. Increased substantiation of abuse was found. Regarding acceptability, the two systems were found to have differing strengths and weaknesses. Outcome measures had high validity estimates, and focus groups indicated directions for improvement. This study was a successful proof of concept that data collected in the field would be useful for clinical purposes as well as for research. (Publisher abstract modified)