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Dec 2020

Critical Elder Abuse and Neglect Training for Early Intervention

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Shaping the future of learning

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is hearing final submissions after an inquiry that spans two years and is anticipated to make final recommendations in 2021.
The ABC reported that Mr Peter Rozen QC, the senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission said that up until recently, there has been a "surprising absence" of mandatory quality indicators for Australia's aged care system.
The QCs have presented a case for huge reform, including a star rating system for families to compare nursing homes for quality and safety with transparency of abuse and neglect.  Recommendations include a higher ratio of nurses and specialist carers proficient in caring for patients with dementia, and at palliative care stage.

Identifying, Reporting and Responding to the Abuse of Older People in Care is Kineo’s elder abuse and neglect training course. This online course has been developed to provide caregivers with the tools to identify the signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect, and how to take action when abuse or neglect is identified. The course looks at the risk factors for older people, including those living independently whether in home care or in an assisted living facility. Specifically, this course will inform learners in the following areas:

  • Defining abuse of an older person 
  • Types of abuse 
  • Reporting abuse 
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Barriers to reporting and protection for staff 
  • Preventing abuse of older people 
  • Actions to take

Additionally, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) endorses this elder abuse training as meeting their standards for educational quality and usability, with the content having been developed by an appropriately credentialed subject matter expert. For more information, view this course and others in Kineo’s learning library.

Overview and types of abuse

To begin, this course will help learners understand background, definitions, and prevalence of abuse of older people in Australia. It also outlines the types of abuse most commonly experienced by older people in care relationships. This first section provides important context for the curriculum ahead that covers the requirements for reporting abuse of an older person as well as the roles and responsibilities of staff around the abuse of a person in their care.

Another critical area that is addressed in this early section is the reasons why older people are so vulnerable this kind of abuse and neglect. Some common reasons for this include:

  • Shrinking social and friendship networks
  • Reduced access to information
  • An increased risk of cognitive impairment
  • An increased risk of being perceived as mentally incompetent
  • Loss of economic power, and
  • A reduced familiarity with contemporary knowledge about how to access help

Finally, the course informs learners about the different forms of elder abuse. This includes neglect, physical, sexual, psychological, social, and financial abuse. Learners will also gain an understanding of the indicators, signs, and symptoms for each abuse area and how to recognise when it’s happening.

How to report abuse: roles and responsibilities

Aged care workers have an obligation to report abuse, but it’s not always as clear as it sounds. That’s why course sections outline how to identify reportable incidents and where one should go to report them. In addition to the process of reporting, it also explains the consequences around the failure to report incidents. These responsibilities also shift depending on one’s role within the care organisation.

Managers and supervisors have different accountability from staff and volunteers. This course will detail who is responsible for keeping records of all abuse reports as well as the role the department of health plays to ensure safe care. To help learners best understand these differences, there is an interactive exercise where different responsibilities must be matched to the appropriate group. An assessment also must be completed with a passing grade before moving ahead. 

Barriers to reporting abuse and neglect

Unfortunately, barriers to reporting these incidents do exist and it’s important to be aware of these. Older people do not always have access to reporting protocols for a variety of reasons. For example, they may fear it won’t be taken seriously or that police intervention will damage family relationships. Because these barriers exist, it’s extra important for care workers to be a voice for older people and report these incidents. 

However, assisted living and home care staff also face barriers to reporting. Awareness, internal culture issues, breaching client confidentiality and trust, lack of process, and fear of being sued by the accused are all reasons why abuse and neglect can go unreported. The course addressed this by helping learners understand the protections for staff who report abuse. There’s even an exercise to identify who is protected in sample scenarios where abuse is reported. 

Preventing abuse in aged care and taking action

While abusive situations are all too common, the ultimate goal is to prevent these situations from happening in the first place. That’s why the course offers solutions for empowering older people to live more independently and gives them resources to help them understand their rights. There are also resources offered for organisations and community-based services to help improve trends. Government action, education, and research are also combatting against abuse and neglect. 

In incidents where action is necessary, there is a proper protocol for immediate threats vs. non immediate threats. Learners in this course are also walked through scenarios where further investigation may be necessary and users must decide in order to move ahead with the learning and a final assessment. 

Learn more

If you’d like more information on Kineo’s course for identifying, reporting, and responding to abuse in aged care, we invite you to visit the Kineo courses page. You can learn more from other blogs about other common trainings we offer on Basic Life Support, General Evacuation Training, EEO Diversity Training, and many more. Our learning library’s full catalogue will also give you a chance to view the full Kineo Courses offering. As always, feel free to contact us for more information on how our courses can work for your organisation.  



Shaping the future of learning

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