Using clinical signs of neglect to identify elder neglect cases

SCIE Social Care Online
Taylor and Francis
Publication date:
01 January 2017


Elder neglect is the one of the most pervasive forms of mistreatment, and often the only place outside of the individual’s residence to identify and assist neglected individuals is in a medical setting. However, elder neglect cases treated in hospitals do not present with a single diagnosis or clinical sign, but rather involve a complex constellation of clinical signs. Currently, there is a lack of comprehensive guidelines on which clinical signs to use in screening tools for neglect among patients treated in hospitals. Using the DELPHI method, a group of experts developed and tested a scale to be used as a pre-screener that conceptually could be integrated into electronic health record systems so that it could identify potential neglect cases in an automated manner. By applying the scale as a pre-screener for neglect, the tool would reduce the pool of at-risk patients who would benefit from in-depth screening for elder neglect by 95%.