Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures related to abuse of an older person

Topics in this section:

Record Keeping
Support for Staff

Where available, a residential care organisation's policies and protocols provide guidance for care staff, volunteers, relatives and visitors on the rights of older people, how to identify abuse and provide a plan of action on how to respond to situations of elder abuse.

In the first instance, prior to responding to any situation involving suspected abuse, check the organisations policies (these may also be called protocols or procedures) addressing abuse of older people. From 2007 all residential care organisations should have  policies to in place  follow in regard to responding and intervening in situations of physical and sexual assault of a resident in accordance to the Act/Aged Care Act (1997). 

If your organisation does not have any policies in place the Compulsory Reporting requirements as set out in the  Residential Care Manual is to be followed. (2)

For other forms of  elder abuse (financial, psychological, social and or neglect) if your agency does not have a policy that addresses the abuse, looking at these checklists, based on ARAS experience, may be helpful.

Other policies and procedures may address: staff training on elder abuse, safety mechanisms to safeguard the rights of workers and protect them from harm in abusive situations, opportunities to discuss and work through issues of concern.

Where your agency does not have any policies of its own, many existing procedures apply to situations of elder abuse. For example then the following should be applied from the  Standards and Guidelines for Residential Aged Care Services Manual, Standard 3.5 INDEPENDENCE and criteria point (f) states "that residents are enabled and encouraged to maintain control of their financial affairs".(1)

An older person may state that her son is putting a lot of pressure on her to hand over control of her finances to him. The older person stated to you that she is worried about her son managing her finances and is not happy about this but her son has given her little choice in the matter. She believes that her son and a solicitor will be visiting her tomorrow to sign papers. You know that this woman has mental capacity. You also observe that the older person appears anxious and upset with what her son is proposing to do.

With the permission of the older person, and the information that you now have, you would go to your supervisor and discuss the conversation that you have just had with the older person and what you have observed. Alternatively, the older person could talk directly to the supervisor if they wish. The supervisor would be required to develop a plan of action to respond to the abuse being experienced by the older person.

(1) Department of Health and Family Services (1998) Standards and Guidelines for Residential Aged Care Services Manual CanPrint,Canberra (pp S-36 standard 3.5 INDEPENDENCE)

(2) Department of Health and Ageing, (2009), Residential Care Manual, Edition 1, Section 5, Caring for Residents and Approved Providers Responsibilities, Compulsory Reporting (pp245-256)