This article reviews current progress and offers recommendations regarding screening for elder mistreatment in emergency departments.
Hospital emergency department (ED) visits provide an important but seldom realized opportunity to identify elder mistreatment. Many screening tools exist, including several that are brief and may be effective, but few have been specifically designed for or tested in EDs. In addition to the absence of validated tools, other challenges with implementing ED elder mistreatment screening include difficulty integrating anything longer than a few questions into a busy clinical encounter and resources required to respond to positive screens. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) offers a critical tool to facilitate elder mistreatment screening through required data entry and real-time monitoring of compliance and results. The current article describes current work in the field and recommends next steps, including design and testing of a two-step screening process, implementation research to accelerate adoption, development of ED-based interventions, and referral protocols for positive cases. It also considers the important role of pre-hospital providers in case identification. (publisher abstract modified)