Elder abuse

How Radiologists Can Help End Elder Abuse

September 18, 2018 by James McHugh, Jr.
elder abuse

Elder abuse in nursing homes and other medical facilities is an unfortunate reality for many. Many aged patients are often neglected, their concerns ignored, and even mentally and physically abused. Now radiologists are finding new ways to detect cases of physical elder abuse, which surprisingly can often go unnoticed.

According to an article recently published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology, healthcare providers often find themselves tasked with detecting the physical abuse of elderly patients in particular. In some cases, emergency radiologists may be able to do more to help than the average physician.

The study’s lead author, Mihan Lee, MD, PhD, found many emergency radiologists and imaging professionals don’t know how to detect physical abuse due to the difficulty of determining the cause of certain injuries. Previous research has suggested one solution could be a mechanism mismatch—an injury pattern inconsistent with the mechanism described by the patients and/or their caregivers.

Lee went on to say that the developmental stage in many older adults is a functional stage where one might not be able to change position under their own will. This can vary among patients of the same age as well. Lee then asserted that, “without reliable age-related milestones from which to infer it, communication between frontline clinicians and radiologists is the only way to document and pass on this information,” and that, “unfortunately, this communication commonly does not occur in the ED, leaving radiologists without critical information they need to assess for potential elder abuse.”

In order to further expand and optimize the role of radiologists in such cases, the authors determined ongoing research is needed to find definitive imaging to correlate the elder abuse, along with other methods for identifying relevant abuse cases. In addition, cultural and practical modifications to the radiologists’ workflows must be done to enable them to contribute more confidently to detecting abuse.

Contact Our Elder Abuse Lawyers Today

Failing to provide the necessary care and attention to our elderly can lead directly to serious injury or even death. For over 30 years, the national law firm of Lopez McHugh LLP has successfully represented nursing home residents and their families. We are committed to protecting these vulnerable members of society by taking legal action to hold these institutions accountable when safety rules are violated. If you or a loved one has been victimized by neglect or abuse while in the care of a nursing home or senior citizen living facility, contact us online or call us for a free consultation.

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