With Safer Ageing Week next week, the British Medical Journal’s recent editorial on the abuse of older people, ‘Elder abuse in the UK: out of the shadows and on to the agenda’ is a timely contribution to the debate.
The piece argues that health professionals should be familiar with different types of abuse in order to identify patients at risk. Hourglass knows medical professionals are often a first point of contact for older people. Older people need to feel they can disclose abuse and be listened to and believes by medical professionals. It is also vital that medical professionals are aware that many abuses are now criminal offences and older people are entitled to a criminal justice as well as a health and care response.
Hourglass is particularly grateful for the call for medical professionals to back MPs lobbying for change. We agree with the call for statutory guidance for health professionals on new duties under the Domestic Abuse Act. Hourglass would like to see healthcare professionals supported in implementing safeguards for older people and routinely trained on responding to the abuse of older people as well as the signs of domestic abuse.
Read the full editorial here: https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2828