New guidelines put onus on GPs to report elder abuse – on a monthly basis

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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is rolling out clinical guidelines urging Australian GPs to be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse and report any suspicions of abuse to police or guardianship authorities.

“It’s something GPs would come across at least once a month, if not more frequently,” College president Harry Nespolon (pictured) said.

If a GP suspects an elderly patient is being abused, they are being encouraged to investigate the matter further, and then help the patient create a safety plan – how helpful this would be remains to be seen.

If the suspected abuse is financial, Dr Nespolon said a safety plan could involve a GP contacting a guardianship board, while for sexual or physical abuse, doctors are urged to call police.

For aged care residents, the GPs are being told to report their concerns and even lobby for the residents to be removed from the facility.