Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 June 2012
The majority of prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) personnel lack specific training relating to elder abuse and neglect.
To develop and test an audio visual training program that focuses on the identification and reporting of domestic violence in the elderly.
A videotape was designed to be used as a 45-minute training course for prehospital personnel using one-half inch, super-VHS recording. A convenience sample of 60 EMS personnel working in Kent County then were asked to evaluate the videotape program. Each volunteer completed a pre-test on elder abuse and neglect, watched the 45-minute videotape, and then answered 12 questions on a post-test.
Participants had an average of 12.4 years (range: 1–30 years) prehospita emergency-care experience. Only four (7%) could recall any previous training relating to elder abuse or neglect during their career. Although the prevalence of elder abuse in their community was described as “rather rare” by most (60%) of the subjects, 85% (51/60) had seen a suspected case of elder abuse or neglect during their careers; 47% (28/60) had seen a case during the past six months. Only 29% of these suspected cases were reported to county authorities. Approximately 40% of the questions on the pre-test were answered correctly (mean score, 4.8 ± 3.0). In comparison, 83% of the questions on the post-test were answered correctly (10.0 ± 3.0). Although participants had a number of suggestions to improve the video program, 78% (47/60) expected this material to change the way they will evaluate elderly patients in the future.
Prehospital personnel do not feel confident identifying or reporting victims of elder abuse or neglect. A videotape training program may be an effective way of presenting this information as a means of continuing education.