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GWM Cham, E Seow
Correspondence: Dr Gregory Cham, firstname.lastname@example.org
Aim To determine the pattern and frequency of elder abuse presenting to an urban Emergency unit in Singapore.
Method The survey was conducted from May 1994 to December 1997. The patients consisted of adults who were 65 years or older who presented to the Emergency Department with non-accidental trauma or complained of other acts of cruelty.
Result 17 cases of elder abuse were found, out of a total of 62,826 elderly patients. The frequency of elder abuse presenting to the Emergency Department was 0.03%. Elder abuse makes up 2.9% of all cases of family violence involving adults in this period. The average age was 74.6 years old. There was a predominance of Chinese females. In 58.8% the assailants were the daughter-in-law or son. 70.5% were ambulatory. Most (76.4%) had a chronic medical illness, commonly hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or both. Blunt musculoskeletal trauma, head or maxillofacial injuries were the commonest injuries encountered.
Conclusion Elder abuse is a significant subset of Family Violence. It may be more widespread than thought. Awareness of its occurrence is a first step in halting its progression.
Keywords: elder abuse, domestic violence, family violence, profile, emergency
Singapore Med J 2000; 41(12): 571-574