Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2003, $290,315)
In this project, the Baylor College of Medicine, takes the critical first step of describing the factors that influence cause of death determination by medical examiners in cases of elder deaths. Variables in deaths due to elder mistreatment will be compared to the variables in deaths due to other reasons. This study will also examine the decision-making process of Medical Examiners, evaluate the ability of scene investigators to assess evidence of neglect, and explore the impact of geriatric consultation on the cause of death determination.
The specific aims of the project are to 1) compare variables regarding scene investigation, medical records, toxicology, and daily workloads in the cases of persons 65 years of age or older whose cause of death was elder mistreatment with those from cases whose causes of death was not elder mistreatment, 2) conduct qualitative interviews of the HCHD Medical Examiners about the decision-making involved in determining cause of death in older persons, 3) compare data retrieved by the police department with those retrieved by a nurse specially trained to detect signs of elder neglect during scene investigations, and 4) determine how frequently the cause of death changes after geriatric medical consultation.