Reporting elder abuse: limitations of statutes

Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Nov;18(11):1217-21. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(89)80063-0.


When it comes to protecting abused elders and determining physicians' legal responsibilities, each state has its own legislation - there is no federal policy. In the extreme, this can mean 50 variations on a theme. Few laws clearly delineate differences between neglect and abuse, nor do they provide graduated remedies to address differing degrees of severity. Even though many states have passed mandatory reporting laws, most provide little or no funding for meaningful intervention. All physicians should become familiar with applicable elder abuse laws and the procedure for referring a suspected case. This presentation of our findings is necessarily brief and should not take the place of familiarity with the legislation in the reader's own state. A copy of relevant state legislation generally can be obtained from the local state legislator's office or law library.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Elder Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Humans
  • United States