Elder abuse and neglect is a subject that will more than likely appear on your exam, and there are numerous ways the topic can be tested. Whether you are studying for the social work or MFT law and ethics exam, it is important to be familiar with the types of abuse as well as the nuances of reporting elder abuse and neglect.
How might reporting elder abuse be tested?
There are several ways elder abuse and neglect can appear on the exam. Questions could test your knowledge regarding:
- The definition of an elder
- Signs of abuse and neglect
- Types of abuse and neglect
- When and where to report
- When to assess further vs. maintain confidentiality
This week’s FREE practice question tests your knowledge of reporting elder abuse. Are you prepared for questions that might appear on your exam? Take a look at the question and let’s find out!
Elder Abuse and Neglect Practice Question:
A therapist meets with the wife of a 90-year-old man. The wife informs the therapist that her husband is spending several weeks in a skilled nursing facility’s rehabilitation unit following a massive heart attack. The client is concerned that her husband is not receiving adequate care because he appears weak and unclean. She shares that his bedpan overflowed a few days earlier and the nurse did not bother to clean up the mess until several hours had passed. The client would like to have him discharged and hire in-home care. How should the therapist proceed?
A. Honor the client’s self-determination and assist her in identifying in-home care.
B. Assess further for potential elder abuse to determine if a report is required.
C. Inform the client a report is mandated and provide verbal and written report to both law enforcement and the local ombudsman.
D. Consult with colleagues to determine if this information rises to the level of reasonable suspicion of abuse.
(scroll down for answer and rationale)
The correct answer is C.
Answer A is incorrect because it is not the priority in this case. This may be done eventually, but it does not address our legal mandate of reporting elder abuse and neglect.
Answer B is incorrect because the therapist needs “reasonable suspicion” when determining if a report is mandated. In this case, the client shared that her husband was unattended to for hours while sitting in his own urine. This rises to the level of neglect; we do not need to assess further.
Answer D is incorrect for a similar reason as B; we have enough information to warrant a report, so consultation is not required.
Answer C is the correct choice. The information shared by the client provides the therapist with reasonable suspicion that her husband is being neglected. Since the abuse has taken care in a long-term care facility, and does not constitute physical abuse, the therapist must report to law enforcement and the local ombudsman.
How did you do on this question? Does this question and rationale align with your knowledge of elder abuse and neglect reporting, or did you learn something new? If you have any additional questions, you are welcome to check in with a TDC coach. Our coaches are here to answer your questions and provide support as you get ready to PASS your law and ethics exam with confidence!
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