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Project funded by Women’s Xchange will develop urgently needed elder abuse intervention

April 2015

Janice Du Mont, EdDElder abuse is a growing issue in the world’s aging population, particularly for women. And interventions that address the full range of problems associated with elder abuse are currently lacking, especially in health care.

A project recently funded by Women’s Xchange hopes to change this. Janice Du Mont, EdD, scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, recently received a $75,000 grant from the Women’s Xchange $15K Challenge to improve the way elder abuse is managed in hospitals. The 15K Challenge is a competition that provides funding to researchers and community organizations across Ontario to conduct research to advance the health of women and girls. 

Her project will aim to develop an elder abuse intervention that will eventually be implemented and evaluated at the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (SA/DVTCs), which is made up of 35 hospital-based centres that provide emergency care to victimized individuals.

“Elder abuse is a pervasive issue that will only continue to grow as our population ages,” says Du Mont. “It is estimated that four to seven per cent of Canadian older adults experience some form of serious elder abuse or maltreatment. Yet, we don’t have a coordinated and integrated strategy to address the complex functional, social, forensic and medical needs of these victims.”

Du Mont and her team have already met with a variety of elder abuse experts (e.g., academics and researchers, health providers, policy makers, and representatives from the financial, community, law enforcement, and legal sectors) to identify what the appropriate components of an elder abuse intervention might be.

With the grant from Women’s Xchange, Du Mont and co-investigators Ms. Sheila Macdonald of the Network of SA/DVTCs and Dr. Mark Yaffe of McGill University hope to further refine the components. They will then develop, pilot, and evaluate an elder abuse curriculum and associated training manual and protocol for nurse examiners, who will be delivering the care at the centres.

“Our research addresses a high priority area in the field of aging and a significant gap in health research,” says Du Mont. “It could improve the quality of life of abused older adults, prevent revictimization, and shape health services policy and practice.”

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