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Formal carers in health care and the social services witnessing abuse of the elderly in their homes
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
1994 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose was to elucidate the reactions of formal carers as witnesses and helpers in situations of elder abuse, to illuminate abusive situations and to reflect on the findings from an ethical point of view. Twenty-one district nurses from one county council were interviewed (I, II, III, IV). They described the problems they had when dealing with cases of elder abuse, the uncertainty they felt when they approached the family, identified the abuse and intervened (I). They used no distinct definition of elder abuse but described it as ’overstepping the boundaries of a person’s integrity/autonomy’ (II). In the 44 cases narrated the elderly people were mostly physically and/or psychologically impaired, the person abused could either be the impaired elderly person, the informal carer or both. Abuse was related to the inability of one party to meet the demands made on him/herself, the other person, or to a history of violence (III). The cases narrated were analysed for reliability and were considered reliable (IV). Questionnaires submitted to 163 district nurses revealed 33 cases of elder abuse (V) and to home service assistants 97 cases (VI). The abused elderly people were often very old women, mostly healthy or unhealthy in equal proportions. The perpetrators were mostly close relatives, responsible or not responsible for the caring. The abusive acts often involved a combination of psychological, physical, and financial abuse and neglect. Mental disturbance and alcohol abuse, as well as financial reasons were reported as contributing to the abuse (V, VI). The attitudes of general practitioners, district nurses and home service assistants towards elder abuse and the interventions suggested in hypothetical cases of elder abuse were investigated (VII). All groups were uncertain about their attitudes towards elder abuse. Their suggested interventions were amalgamated into three groups; sparse and of the social type, more specific and of the health care and voluntary type, or overall types of intervention. The situation, profession and organization seemed to result in different interventions (VII). The findings were reflected on using Lögstrup’s ethic as a framework, and the conclusion was that in order to be able to intervene successfully formal carers need to find solutions on a meta-level. Conventions and norms must be developed and public responsibility is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 1994. , 82 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 403
Keyword [en]
Elder abuse, primary health care, district nurses, general practitioners, home service assistants, Lögstrup’s ethic
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100546ISBN: 91-7174-917-9OAI: diva2:792995
Public defence
1994-09-03, Sal B, Tandläkarhögskolan, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 09:00

S. 1-82: sammanfattning, s. 85-199: 7 uppsatser

Available from: 2015-03-10 Created: 2015-03-04 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Saveman, Britt-Inger
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