Interdisciplinary Approach to Elder Abuse Prevention

Elder advocates and those who work tirelessly to prevent nursing home abuse can be involved in many different professions, including medicine. According to a recent news release from USC News, geriatrician Laura Mosqueda is a “leader in the study and prevention of elder abuse,” and she’s continuing to work toward the prevention and early detection of elder neglect in California. Mosqueda is currently the director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), and she hopes that her work in Southern California will have lasting impact on older throughout the region.6240576176_62b88ae159

Interdisciplinary Work to Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect

One of Mosqueda’s focuses in the prevention and detection of elder abuse and neglect is taking an interdisciplinary approach to the problem. Sometimes we think of elder abuse prevention as a job that falls within the realm of community advocates or healthcare professionals who have daily contact with older adults. And sometimes we note that dedicated San Diego nursing home abuse attorneys play an important role in holding abusers accountable. But Mosqueda has worked to bring together elder advocates in multiple fields and professions on behalf of the elderly community.

When she worked and taught at the University of California, Irvine, Mosqueda co-founded an Elder Abuse Forensics Center—the first of its kind in the country. The Center became a “hub for legal, medical, law enforcement, and social services strategies to improve the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases.” The Center has been so successful that it became the model for the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center, with ties to the University of Southern California.

Since beginning her work at USC, Mosqueda has continued to serve as director of the NCEA, which comes with it a 3-year, $2.2 million grant from the Administration on Aging. And she has also begun reaching out to faculty members across departments at USC in order to continue “building interdisciplinary bridges around the study of elder abuse.” For instance, Mosqueda has begun working with colleagues in law, business, education, and social work (in conjunction with her own work in the USC Davis School of Gerontology).

Elder Abuse as an Important Issue in the Medical Community

While Mosqueda cites the importance of interdisciplinary work to put an end to elder abuse in California and throughout the county, she emphasizes that elder abuse is a significant issue in the medical community of which healthcare providers need to take note. As she explains, “the vast majority of Adult Protective Services workers have little or no medical training,” and this becomes a problem since they “are not lifting up shirts and looking for wounds.”

To be sure, bruising is a common sign of nursing home abuse, but some APS employees work under the misconception that aging adults simply bruise more easily than younger people. While Mosqueda indicates that older adults do bruise more easily, “you shouldn’t see bruising on the face, the head, the neck, the soles of the feet, the torso,” and “you shouldn’t see multiple bruises and large bruises without a reasonable and believable explanation.”

By bringing together advocates in multiple fields, elder abuse awareness and prevention measures can obtain more funding and can tackle the problem from multiple angles.

If you have concerns about a loved one’s safety in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, you should discuss your case with an experienced San Diego elder abuse lawyer as soon as possible.

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