Medical Council of Canada

Medical expert

Elder Abuse - 114-2


Elder abuse is action or neglect causing harm or distress to an older person where there is an expectation of trust.

Causal Conditions

(list not exhaustive)
  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional or psychological abuse
  4. Financial or material exploitation
  5. Neglect (e.g., physical, social, emotional)

Key Objectives

Given an older person in a state of distress or unexplained findings, the candidate will inquire about potential elder abuse. In particular, the candidate will determine the level of immediate risk, identify potential contributing factors, and outline an appropriate management plan.


Given a case of possible elder abuse, the candidate will

  1. list and interpret critical clinical findings, including
    1. recognizing potential signs of abuse (e.g., fear, malnutrition);
    2. recognizing the importance of interviewing the patient alone;
    3. identifying risk factors for abuse including the patient's support structure and social circumstances;
    4. assessing the capacity of the patient to make personal care decisions;
  2. list and interpret critical investigations, including, where appropriate,
    1. assessment by appropriate medical investigations;
    2. assessment by appropriate health care agencies;
  3. construct an effective initial management plan, including
    1. ensuring the patient is in a safe environment;
    2. involving other team members or agencies, if indicated (e.g., social worker);
    3. providing support and education to the caregiver, if necessary.
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