Elder abuse is a serious and dangerous form of domestic violence that is of particular concern to communities and healthcare professionals. Since health care providers have a central position for detecting elder abuse in hospitals, this study was conducted to determine the barriers in identifying elder abuse among health care providers and the effect of intervention to deal with the problem.
The participants completed the health care providers’ awareness on reporting the elder abuse questionnaire. Then, the interventional study was conducted on 235 health care providers at two teaching hospitals of Babol University of Medical Sciences. The intervention was conducted as a one-day workshop by two professors for four hours and included theoretical and practical subjects. Two months after implementing the protocol for detecting and screening elder abuse in hospital wards, the health care providers completed three questionnaires, including the awareness questionnaire, the potential barriers to assessing elder abuse in hospitals, and the health care providers’ implementation problems in detecting and reporting elder abuse.
The mean health care providers’ awareness to detect elder abuse improved significantly after intervention (8.51 ± 2.81 vs. 15.53 ± 2.39; P < 0.001). The challenges of abuse detection were; lack of awareness about elder abuse and its prevalence (54.8%), fear of legal consequences (51.9%), and fear of communication problems between older adults and their family (53.6%).
More frequent and pragmatic education is necessary to strengthen the practical knowledge of health care providers in regards to the detection of elder abuse.
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