In caring for their older patients, medical and other health practitioners must always be on the lookout for possible elder abuse. 

Elder abuse has been defined by the World Health Organisation as: “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”. 

Protecting Your Practice – Tego Insurance

As Medical Indemnity insurance providers in Australia, Tego is here to help and guide you. If you are a medical practitioner with Tego, your medical indemnity insurance comes with 24/7 medico-legal advice and support to guide you through any elder abuse matters that may arise.

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What Should You Do If You Are Suspicious of Elderly Abuse?

It can be difficult for healthcare practitioners to know what to do about their suspicions of elder abuse. Complex considerations can arise around issues such as willingness to disclose abuse, capacity, insight, safety, substitute decision-makers and confidentiality. 

If you encounter a situation that seems to rise to the occasion of suspected elder abuse, here are some appropriate measures you can consider:

  • liaise with other medical professionals for a peer opinion;
  • refer your patient to another medical practitioner or body for further assistance, such as an aged care assessment teams;
  • report your concerns to a responsible body, such as the police or other Government agency 

There is no single body responsible for handling suspected elder abuse.  But here are some example organisations you can approach:

  • If  you suspect abuse involving a serious or imminent risk of harm to an older patient- then the appropriate position would be to report this to the Police;
  • If you have a complaint, the Commonwealth Aged Care Complaints Commissioner handles complaints involving government-funded aged care;
  • If you need advice, a variety of territories and states have elder abuse helplines or prevention units.

Let the team at Tego help

The team at Tego are here to provide medico-legal advice and support on matters involving elder care abuse. It is important that you seek clear guidance around what to do in situations of suspected elder abuse as well as being certain you have the protections needed for your practice.

We at Tego have a great understanding of the Australian medical profession and the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

We offer Medical Indemnity Insurance, Medical Malpractice Insurance, Doctors Indemnity Insurance, Medical Practice Insurance, GP Medical indemnity Insurance, and more.

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information.