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Physical Abuse Of The Elderly For Family Members And Carers


Physical abuse occurs when a carer harms an elder or places him in danger. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for caring for the elder. The carer may hit, slap, kick, push, pull hair, burn, or force feed the elder. The carer may also give him the wrong amount of medicine. Physical abuse also includes sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is when someone has sexual contact with the elder without his consent. Physical abuse can happen in the elder's own home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that the elder may need. Informed consent means he understands what will be done and can make decisions about what he wants. He gives his permission when he signs the consent form. He can have someone sign this form for him if he is not able to sign it. He has the right to understand his medical care in words he knows. Before he signs the consent form, he should understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all his questions are answered.


An IV is a tube placed in the elder elder's vein for giving medicine or liquids.


The elder may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. He may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask his healthcare provider before you take off his mask or oxygen tubing.

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check the elder's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about his pain. These vital signs give healthcare providers information about his current health.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Healthcare providers may give him medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Do not wait until the elder's pain is severe to ask for medicine for him. Tell healthcare providers if his pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling his pain if he waits too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make him dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a healthcare provider when he wants to get out of bed or if he needs help.
  • Tetanus shot: This medicine prevents a condition called tetanus, and may be given if there is an open wound. The elder should have a tetanus shot if he has not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. His arm can get red, swollen, and sore from this shot.


  • Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems, such as malnutrition or infection.
  • 12-lead ECG: This test, also called an EKG, helps healthcare providers look for damage or problems in different areas of the heart. Healthcare providers may need to prepare the elder's skin by shaving or cleaning it. Sticky pads are placed on his chest, arms, and legs and attached to a machine. A short period of electrical activity in his heart muscle is recorded. This test may show problems or changes in how his heart is working.
  • Neurologic signs: Neurologic signs are also called neuro signs. Healthcare providers check the elder's eyes, memory, and how easily he wakes up. Hand grasp and balance may also be tested. This test shows healthcare providers how the brain is working after an injury or illness. He may need to have neuro signs checked often.
  • Pelvic exam: Women may need to have this exam so healthcare providers can check for any injuries that may have resulted from the abuse.
  • Culture and smear exam: A sample of discharge may be collected from the genitals, and sent to a lab for tests.
  • X-rays: X-rays may show if any bones are broken or out of place. X-rays of the elder's chest and abdomen may also be taken.


  • Counseling: Physical abuse may cause the elder to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. The elder's healthcare provider may suggest that he see a counselor to talk about how he is feeling.
  • Surgery: The elder may need surgery to treat injuries. Surgery may return bones to their normal position if there is a broken bone. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or treat other injuries.


The elder may bleed or get an infection if he has surgery to treat his wounds, fractures, or other injuries. If left untreated, he may develop serious health and emotional problems. Repeated physical abuse may lead to severe injuries or death. He may also become depressed.


The elder has the right to help plan his own care. To help with this plan, he must learn about his health condition, and how it may be treated. He can then discuss treatment options with his healthcare providers. Working with them will help to decide what care and treatment may be used. The elder always has the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Physical Abuse Of The Elderly For Family Members And Carers (Inpatient Care)

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