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Physical Abuse of the Elderly


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


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Vital signs

include your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. Healthcare providers will check your vital signs often. They will also ask about your pain.


  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given.
  • A tetanus shot may be given if there is an open wound. You should have a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the past 5 to 10 years.


  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems.
  • A pelvic exam is done in women so healthcare providers can check for any injuries from the abuse.
  • A culture and smear exam is used to take a sample of discharge from the genitals. The sample is sent to a lab for tests.
  • X-rays may show if any bones are broken or out of place. X-rays of your chest and abdomen may also be taken.
  • CT or MRI pictures may be used to check for bleeding in your brain.
  • A 12-lead ECG, also called an EKG, helps healthcare providers look for damage or problems in different areas of the heart. A short period of electrical activity in your heart muscle is recorded. This test may show problems or changes in how your heart is working.
  • Neurologic signs, also called neuro signs, are used to check how the brain is working after an injury. Healthcare providers will check your eyes, memory, and how easily you wake up. Hand grasp and balance may also be tested. You may need to have neuro signs checked often.


  • Counseling may be recommended. A counselor can help you talk about how you are feeling. Physical abuse may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. A counselor can help you with these feelings.
  • Surgery may be needed 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.


You may bleed or get an infection if you have surgery to treat your wounds, fractures, or other injuries. If left untreated, you may develop serious health and emotional problems. Repeated physical abuse may lead to severe injuries or death. You may also become depressed.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have 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.