Physical Elder Abuse

Physical Elder Abuse Is…

Physical force that results in injury or death, commonly recognized as:

·      Hitting ·      Punching
·      Kicking ·      Choking
·      Pinching ·      Slapping
·      Grabbing ·      Twisting
·      Burning ·      Force-feeding
·      Misuse of medications (over or under-utilization) ·      Misuse of chemical or physical restraints

Signs Of Physical Elder Abuse Are…

  • Bruising
  • Fractures
  • Burns (including cigarette burns; medical equipment burns; water burns)
  • Hoarse voice, leaning forward to breathe, respiratory emergencies (signs of strangulation)
  • Pressure sores, AKA bedsores
  • Choking on food, or pneumonia resulting from food in lungs (signs of force-feeding)
  • Misuse of medications (for example: unfilled or expired prescriptions; over-administering, such as sedatives; stealing opiates)

If You Suspect Physical Elder Abuse, Ask…

  • Can the injuries be satisfactorily explained? Do the explanations make sense?
  • How did the victim fall?
  • Did the victim trip or were they pushed?
  • If they fell, were any obstructions placed in their pathway?
  • Do they normally use an ambulatory device? Was that present when they fell? If not, where was it?

If You Suspect Physical Elder Abuse…

  • Use the First Responder Checklist to document AND DESCRIBE any physical injuries, as well as the victim’s overall level of independence and functioning.
  • Take photographs of any physical injuries. (See Photo Tips.)
  • Take victim’s and witness accounts of how the victim was injured. (See Interviewing Older Adults.)
  • Multiple types of elder abuse may be present. Explore and document the possibility of other types of abuse.