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Elder Abuse in the United States: A Teaching Strategy for Nurses

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Getting Started 

This teaching strategy focuses on assessing the risk factors related to abuse of older adults, coordinating and managing care of abused older adults, and making situational decisions with older adults. The strategy enhances the student's human flourishing and nursing judgment. 

  • Provide the learners with the ACES framework and discuss communication techniques when assessing function and expectations in older adults.
  • Using the ACES framework, ask the learners to discuss a situation where they suspected abuse in an older adult but weren't sure how to address it.
  • Play the following video link. This activity can take place in lecture, seminar, or in pre or post conference for clinical, if internet access is available.
  • Using the link, review the ANA's Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements with the students. The Code of Ethics for Nurses was developed as a guide for carrying out nursing responsibilities in a manner consistent with quality in nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession. Use this link to discuss the ethical responsibilities of nurses when providing care to older adults.
  • Using the link, discuss the various forms of elder abuse with the students. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) is an association of researchers, practitioners, educators, and advocates dedicated to protecting the safety, security, and dignity of America's most vulnerable citizens. It was established in 1988 to achieve a clearer understanding of abuse and provide direction and leadership to prevent it. Since 1998. NCPEA has been a partner or participant in the National Center on Elder Abuse, funded by Congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse and resource for abuse and neglect.
  • Discussion Questions: Use the following to facilitate a discussion with your students related to the video and case study presented: 
    1. Identify and describe the form(s) of elder abuse experienced in the video. Give examples from the video to support your information.
    2. What risk factors for elder abuse and/or neglect were evident in the video for the individuals presented?
    3. What are the nurse's ethical responsibilities for a client who is a victim of abuse/neglect viewed in the video?
    4. What do you think the patient is experiencing?
    5. Consider the possible outcomes of implementing falls precautions or not. What are the risks and benefits to the patient? To the nurse? 
  • Play or read the Red monologue. This activity can take place in lecture, seminar, or in pre or post conference for clinical. 
  • Discussion Questions: Use the following to facilitate a discussion with your students related to the video and case study presented: 
    1. What are your concerns for Red? Give examples from the video to support your information.
    2. What is the cause of the concern?
    3. What else do you need to know about Red?
    4. What are you going to do about it?
    5. What do you think Red is experiencing?
    6. Consider the possible outcome if the nurse does nothing in this situation.
    7. Consider the possible outcomes if the nurse takes action. What are the risks and benefits to Red? To the nurse?
    8. What steps should be taken to resolve this ethical dilemma?
    9. Discuss how nurses can determine if a patient is cognitively intact in making care decisions. 

Students should be encouraged to explore web sites such as the Try This:® and How to Try This resources and Innovative Care Models websites for additional assessment tools and information.

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