Medical first responders in a North Texas community are playing a part in combating the nationwide problem of underreported elder abuse, thanks to a tool that’s helping them identify and report potential cases of abuse while on emergency calls for older adults.
The screening tool, called Detection of Elder Abuse Through Emergency Care Technicians (DETECT), is being studied in the field by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in collaboration with Texas Adult Protective Services (APS), and MedStar Mobile Healthcare.
“Older adults, more than other age groups, are at risk of social isolation. People who interact less with the world at large are also less likely to have someone recognize signs of any issues that may need to be addressed – including abuse or neglect,” said Dr. Brad Cannell, principal investigator and associate professor at University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health at Houston, in Dallas. “For some older adults, their interaction with emergency medical services may be the only opportunity we get, as a society, to recognize a need for services to address abuse or neglect.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 08