New tool will help standardize elder abuse data

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cover page of Elder Abuse Surveillance report

How many older adults are victims of elder abuse each year? Anyone who has ever tried to find the answer to this question knows there is no easy answer. That is partly due to the way elder abuse and neglect are defined, how cases are reported, and how the related data is managed. Elder abuse surveillance activities vary widely from state to state, even county to county.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a tool that aims to help standardize the way this important data is collected and managed, in the hopes that we can gain a more accurate picture of the problem and impact of elder abuse at the local, state, and national levels.

The tool, Elder Abuse Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Core Data Elements, is a set of uniform definitions and recommended core data elements for possible use in standardizing the collection of elder abuse data locally and nationally.

According to the CDC, the document is not meant as a set of mandates, but rather is intended to promote and improve consistency of elder abuse measurement and surveillance.

The CDC worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including the US Adminstration on Community Living (ACL), to develop these recommendations, which are consistent with ACL's National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS) initiative.