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Elder abuse among outpatient department attendees in a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka

Authors:

PAS Edirisinghe,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About PAS
Senior Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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P Paranitharn ,

Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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WNS Perera,

Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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SS Willams

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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Abstract

Objectives Abuse of older people is a hidden problem. Some believe that it is less in Asian societies as the extended family is a protective factor. The real extent of the problem however, is not researched adequately in Sri Lanka.

Methods A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted at the North Colombo Teaching Hospital on 530 consecutive adults above 60 years of age attending the out-patient department. The Hwalek-Sengstock elder abuse screening test with modifications to address socio-cultural differences was administered. A brief demographic questionnaire and questions on past and present abuse were also included.

Results Out of 530 elders studied, 32 (6%) were above 80 years of age and the mean age was 68.5 years. Male to female ratio was 1:2. Abuse, either physical, psychological, verbal or neglect was reported by 239 (45%) elders. Physical abuse was reported by 5.6%. The screening test revealed that the study population was vulnerable to psychological and financial abuse. Total overall rate of abuse was 38.5%. Loneliness was reported by 26%. Of the caregivers, 22% were financially dependent on the elders. Having more than three children was a risk factor for psychological and financial abuse and being single was a risk factor for psychological abuse.

Conclusions Physical, emotional and financial abuse of elders were reported in our study population. A limitation of this study was that it studied elders who sought treatment at a tertiary care hospital. Community studies will be needed to establish the true prevalence of elder abuse.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v59i3.6527

Ceylon Medical Journal 2014; 59: 84-89

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v59i3.6527
How to Cite: Edirisinghe, P., Paranitharn, P., Perera, W. and Willams, S., 2014. Elder abuse among outpatient department attendees in a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Medical Journal, 59(3), pp.84–89. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v59i3.6527
Published on 29 Sep 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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