Attitudes and knowledge of medical and nursing staff toward elder abuse

A. Almogue, A. Weiss, E. L. Marcus, Y. Beloosesky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although physicians and nurses are best positioned to recognize and diagnose cases of elder abuse, the level of reporting these cases is much lower than its true incidence. Our aim was to assess and compare knowledge and attitudes of physicians and nurses toward this phenomenon. Two hundred and thirty-five nurses and physicians were asked to participate in the study. One hundred nurses and 57 physicians ultimately completed the questionnaires. The main finding was that participants had a low level of knowledge of elder abuse issues and the relevant laws and regulations (mean correct answers 5.36 ± 1.45 of 10 and 4.67 ± 1.34 of 8, respectively). No significant differences were found in the physicians' knowledge according to medical specialty, hospital type, years in the profession and geriatric experience. Licensed practical nurses knew less than registered and academic nurses relating to the abuse issue and state reporting laws (p=0.003 and 0.02, respectively). No significant differences relating to the knowledge of elder abuse were found between nurses and physicians nor between general and geriatric hospital employees. Both physicians and nurses tended to have neutral attitudes regarding this issue. However, employees of geriatric hospitals had better attitudes than general hospital workers (p=0.008). Most responders believed that the unwillingness to get legally involved had been the main reason of not reporting suspected cases. This study emphasizes the need to take more efficient measures to improve the knowledge of the medical and nursing staff concerning elder abuse and to encourage medical personnel to be more concerned and involved in the safeguarding of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-91
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Elder abuse
  • Nurses' attitudes
  • Nurses' knowledge
  • Physicians' attitudes
  • Physicians' knowledge


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