Potential Markers for Elder Mistreatment

The table below shows specific characteristics identified by researchers in Arkansas within four categories of markers that investigators can look for to determine whether elder mistreatment is occurring or has occurred.

Potential Markers to Identify Elder Mistreatment
Physical Condition and Quality of Care
  • Documented but untreated injuries.
  • Undocumented injuries and fractures.
  • Multiple, untreated, or undocumented pressure sores.
  • Medical orders not followed.
  • Poor oral care, poor hygiene, and lack of cleanliness of resident
    (e.g., unchanged adult diapers, untrimmed finger and toenails).
  • Malnourished residents that have no documentation for low weight.
  • Bruising on nonambulatory residents; bruising in unusual locations.
  • Family has statements and facts concerning poor care.
  • Level of care for residents with nonattentive family members.
Facility Characteristics
  • Unchanged linens.
  • Strong odors (urine, feces).
  • Trash cans that have not been emptied.
  • Food issues (cafeteria smells at all hours; food left on trays).
  • Past problems.
Inconsistencies between—
  • Medical records, statements made by staff members, or what is viewed by investigator.
  • Statements given by different groups.
  • The reported time of death and condition of the body.
Staff Behaviors
  • Staff members who follow the investigator too closely.
  • Lack of knowledge or concern about a resident.
  • Evasiveness, both unintended and purposeful, verbal and nonverbal.
  • Facility's unwillingness to release medical records.
Date Created: January 8, 2008