This study analyzed 252 cases of elder maltreatment to increase understanding about elder patient neglect and the way that patient neglect can be distinguished from patient abuse.
While research on elder maltreatment has increased dramatically over the past three decades, few studies have considered elder neglect. Even fewer studies have addressed cases of patient neglect committed while older adults are receiving long-term care. In this study, the authors analyzed 252 cases of elder maltreatment to increase understanding about elder patient neglect and the way that patient neglect can be distinguished from patient abuse. The criminal justice system's response to these crimes is also addressed. The results show that offenders in elder patient abuse and patient neglect cases receive similar sentences. However, the dynamics surrounding the offenses are different in important ways. Patient neglect cases are more likely than patient abuse cases to (1) involve multiple victims, (2) be committed in groups, (3) be white-collar crimes rather than occupational crimes, and (4) result in more serious consequences for victims. Implications for policy, theory, and research are provided. (Published Abstract)