Providence, RI - Doctors in almost every state are required by law to report suspected elder abuse of their patients. But hardly any of them do, even if they fear that their silence may subject an elderly person to continued abuse at the hands of a caregiver.
Physicians report just 2 percent of the elder abuse and neglect cases recorded each year by state protective service agencies, according to medical and legal experts and recent articles published in medical journals. One study, published in 2005 in a journal focusing on geriatric medicine, says that the actual figure may be even lower.
The lack of physician reporting is a huge problem, experts say, because as the elderly population continues to grow and doctors become ever more pressed for time in meeting the demands for care, more elder abuse will go undetected.
August 10, 2008