In their daily work, care providers, such as physicians and nurses, face numerous ethical challenges. Elder abuse and end of life planning are among the most critical topics that cause ethical issues and dilemmas. To understand how to resolve essential issues, care providers should have in-depth knowledge of these topics. The present paper will discuss elder abuse and end of life planning in the United States while also outlining some of the key recommendations for care providers facing these problems.
Elder abuse is a prevalent issue that is widely connected with the overall aging of the population. According to the World Health Organization (2018), one in six older adults have experienced abuse in community settings, and the prevalence of the problem is expected to grow further in future decades. With the prevalence of long-term care facilities for elderly persons in the United States, it is also critical to address abuse in institutional settings. The WHO (2018) claims that over 60% of staff reported having witnessed abuse of elderly persons in care institutions.
Elder abuse can be challenging to identify, as there are many forms of abuse experienced by older adults. The National Institute on Aging (NIA, 2016) distinguishes at least five types of abuse, including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and abandonment. All of these types of abuse can have a significant impact on the individual and their mental and physical health. Abused elders can develop a mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety (WHO, 2018). Besides, injuries and stress resulting from abuse could influence their quality of life and physical health.
In the United States, some organizations aim to protect elderly people from abuse and could help to take action in case of suspected abuse. The most crucial recommendation for health providers is to look for signs of abuse, including trouble sleeping, weight loss, agitation, apathy, unexplained injuries, and poor hygiene (NIA, 2016). These signs should prompt care providers to talk to an elderly person without the presence of a caregiver and to report suspected abuse to authorities.
End of Life Planning
Death is an integral part of caring for patients, especially when it comes to elderly populations. End of life planning can help people to voice their concerns about health care and ensure that they will receive the care that answers to their wishes and beliefs. For instance, advance directives can guide medical professionals in case of an emergency, thus promoting a patient-centered approach to care. End of life planning can also involve anxiety and stress associated with the threat of death. Medical care providers can help patients to cope with stress and make the well-informed end of life decisions.
First of all, care providers should document patients’ wishes with regards to care and make sure that other staff members are aware of them. Kononovas (2017) states that this stage is critical to the end of life care, as it promotes patient autonomy in decision-making and assists patients in coping with death. Secondly, care providers should advocate for the fulfillment of patients’ wishes and initiate discussions with other members of staff when needed (Kononovas, 2017). Lastly, nurses and physicians should establish effective communication with patients to offer the support and comfort needed at this stage of life.
Overall, abuse of the elderly and end of life care are relevant topics that require further exploration. Elderly abuse is a rather prevalent phenomenon in man countries of the world that has a significant influence on the mental and physical health of individuals. End of life planning, on the other hand, could help people to cope with dying and receive the care that corresponds with their wishes and beliefs. The information provided in the paper could help care providers to make informed decisions when suspecting elder abuse or providing care to patients at the end of life.
Kononovas, K. (2017). The benefits and barriers of ensuring patients have advance care planning. Nursing Times, 113(1), 41-44.
National Institute of Aging (NIA). (2016). Elder abuse. Web.
World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Elder abuse. Web.