Urgent care providers have become more attuned to signs of potential child abuse, realizing that the parents responsible might be nervous taking a child they’ve injured to their “regular” pediatrician. Visiting an urgent care center where the family may not be known can provide a false sense of security that the true nature of a child’s injuries would go unrecognized. There’s tons of information telling providers what to do about those suspicions, as well. We don’t tend to think of the elderly in a similar vein, however—perhaps missing an opportunity to provide a similarly prosocial service. Unfortunately, the patients themselves may be complicit in this silent conspiracy, embarrassed that they’ve been abused by caregivers or even protective of their own children if they’re the perpetrators of the abuse. The University of Southern California’s Center on Elder Mistreatment, among other groups, hopes to spotlight the issue with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, however. USC created a treasure trove of Tools and Tips on its website; materials suitable for both patients and providers include an outreach guide, FAQs about the warning signs and risk factors for elder abuse, and training resources. According to a 2014 article published in American Family Physician, 1 out of every 10 older adults experiences some form of abuse or neglect by a caregiver annually; given the volume of patients flocking to urgent care, it’s likely your providers will see some of them.
Urgent Care Operators Can Help Reduce Elder Abuse—Here’s How