Eastern Niagara Hospital was selected as one of six hospitals across the nation to participate in a national pilot funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation to address elder mistreatment in emergency departments. ENH’s participation, funded by a grant through the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, will enable ENH to serve as one of six pilot sites in the U.S. to facilitate and study the feasibility of an elder mistreatment emergency department care model.
As one of the clinical sites, ENH’s physicians from UBMD Emergency Medicine and the emergency department staff will implement the core elements of the care model in the hospital’s emergency department during the upcoming 12-month evaluation period.
The program, and its associated care model, was established by the National Collaboratory, which is led by the Education Development Center. The National Collaboratory is comprised of experts in the subject of elder mistreatment from across the country.
A press release said, “This issue has become a prevalent public health concern in the United States, leading to devastating consequences for victims, families, health and social systems. Elder mistreatment can be defined as the abuse or neglect of an older adult by a person whom they trust. This includes physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or exploitation. National studies estimate that one in 10 older adults who experience elder mistreatment remain unrecognized or uncared for, since many of these individuals are less likely or able to seek help due to their impairments, isolation, or dependency on the caregiver who may be a perpetrator of the abuse.”
The elder mistreatment care model and follow-up study will be facilitated through ENH’s emergency department in Lockport. The program includes the implementation of an initial screening tool and follow-up assessment, as well as response protocols when victims are identified – including connecting patients to appropriate resources in the community, as needed.
Eastern Niagara’s emergency department staff and its associated physicians from UBMD Emergency Medicine are being fully trained to facilitate the care model.
ERs frequently care for older persons with risk factors for elder mistreatment. One of the goals of the initiative is to develop best practices to improve screening tools, interventions and appropriate follow-up for older adults experiencing or at risk for elder mistreatment.
ENH President and CEO Anne McCaffrey stated, "We are honored that Eastern Niagara Hospital was selected as the only hospital in New York state and among only six in the country to pilot this critical program. As the population of older adults increases, we feel compelled to implement new initiatives to ensure positive health outcomes for the elderly in our community. With our strong partnership with UBMD Emergency Medicine physicians, we have the best team in place in Lockport to be at the forefront of this impactful and far-reaching program.”
Health Foundation President Nora OBrien-Suric, Ph.D., said, “We are proud to support Eastern Niagara Hospital’s participation in this critically important pilot program. Statistics show that mistreatment of older adults is widely underreported, and therefore often goes untreated. This happens partly because health care professionals are not always given the tools and training to identify the signs of abuse or address it effectively. By implementing the elder mistreatment care model, the ENH emergency department care team will be better equipped to spot potential abuse and intervene with resources and support – an essential effort that will make a difference in the lives of many older adults in our community.”
The pilot program recently began at Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport.