Conclusion or Recommendation

Page Number

The panel strongly recommends systematic studies of reporting practices and the effects of reporting, taking maximum advantage of the opportunity for comparisons of practices and outcomes in states with and without mandated reporting.


Research is needed on the effectiveness of adult protective services interventions, ideally in study designs that compare outcomes in cases in which services were provided with those in which eligible recipients declined offered services or other cases in which mistreatment of an equivalent nature has been identified.


Prosecutorial response to elder mistreatment is an understudied area that should receive heightened attention by the National Institute of Justice and other funders of criminal justice research.


Research about the use of civil justice interventions and their effectiveness in preventing exploitation and other harm to elders should be jointly sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the Administration on Aging.


The panel strongly encourages government agencies and private sponsors of elder mistreatment programs to give priority to interventions that emphasize specialized professional training and interdisciplinary collaboration. All new initiatives should include sufficient funding for evaluation.


Research Ethics: Chapter 8

Investigators and institutional review boards (IRBs) need clearer guidance (without rigid rules) concerning two issues that tend to recur in elder mistreatment research: conditions under which research can properly go forward with participants whose decisional capacity is impaired, and the proper responses to evidence of mistreatment elicited during the course of the study. The panel recommends that the National Institute of Aging, in collaboration with the Office of Human Research Protections and other sponsors of elder mistreatment research, undertake a consensus project to develop ethical guidelines and provide necessary clarification.


Whenever feasible, investigators should consult representative members of the populations being studied (elder persons and caregivers, nursing home residents and staff, etc.) to ascertain their perspectives and preferences regarding the proper responses to evidence of mistreatment (and the related ethical issues raised by the proposed research), and should take this information into account in developing the protocol.


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