Elder Abuse: Systematic Review and Implications for Practice

Xin Qi Dong, MD, MPH


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015;63(6):1214-1238. 

In This Article

Health Policy Implications

Two important federal laws address elder abuse: the Older Americans Act (OAA) and the Elder Justice Act (EJA). The OAA authorizes funding for National Ombudsman Resource Center, National Center on Elder Abuse, Office of State Long Term Care Ombudsman, legal and justice services for victims, funding of demonstration projects, outreach activities, and State Legal Assistance Developer to enhance coordinated care. The EJA was passed in the 110th Congress to unify federal systems and respond to elder abuse. It required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promulgate guidelines for human subject protections to assist researchers and establish elder abuse forensic centers across the United States. The EJA authorized funding and incentives for long-term care staffing; builds electronic medical records technology; collects and disseminates annual APS data; and sponsors and supports training, services, reporting, and the evaluation program for elder justice, although the majority of programs and activities under the EJA have not received funding, and the EJA is in danger of being dissolved. The authorization of appropriations for EJA provisions expired on September 30, 2014, and the likelihood of continuing Congressional resolution and reauthorization is uncertain.[79] The EJA plays an important role in elder abuse research and prevention. The Government Accountability Office described the EJA as providing "a vehicle for setting national priorities and establishing a comprehensive multidisciplinary elder justice system in this country."[9] Comprehensive, systematic, coordinated, multilevel advocacy and policy efforts are needed to address elder abuse in legislation at the national level.[80]