(HealthDay News) – Elder abuse is a prevalent issue and needs to be screened for in women aged ≥60 years during preventive health care visits, according to a Committee Opinion published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women reviewed published literature and recommendations regarding the prevalence and identification of abuse in women, particularly in older women.

The following are included in ACOG’s recommendations: screen all patients older than 60 years for signs and symptoms of elder abuse, starting with open-ended questions and progressing to more specific questions; advocate for a safe environment for all aging women; follow individual state guidelines for reporting elder abuse to Adult Protection Services; provide education regarding elder abuse to patients, family, caregivers, and health care providers; and encourage research on elder abuse and mistreatment.

“Screening, education, and policy change are the best interventions for the prevention of elder abuse,” the authors write. “Early identification and prompt referral should be part of the preventive health care visit for women aged ≥60 years.”

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