Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
Millions of older persons are physically and sexually abused, neglected and financially exploited every year. This abuse occurs in homes and facilities, cuts across all demographic groups, and causes untold suffering. In their last years, these older adult victims are impoverished, injured, neglected, isolated and living in fear. Already an epidemic, elder abuse is rapidly increasing.
Elder abuse cases are complex, often requiring multiple systems to respond to them. Developing a multidisciplinary team (MDT) is recognized as a potentially powerful solution that communities can initiate in response to elder abuse. MDTs are a person-centered approach to assessment and interventions. They enable experts from multiple disciplines (e.g., medicine, forensic accounting, law) and systems (e.g., adult protective services, criminal justice, law enforcement, financial industry, aging, victim services) to come together to review cases, coordinate responses, and improve outcomes. The teams reduce service duplication and effectively respond to victims’ myriad needs, improving the care provided when organizations and systems act in isolation.
In 2020, with OVC funding, Weill Cornell Medicine/New York City Elder Abuse Center established the National Elder Abuse MDT Training and Technical Assistance Center to support the growth and success of 13 OVC-funded new and enhancing EMDTs. Our core organization partners are Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Red Wind Consulting, USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the Keck School of Medicine’s National Center on Elder Abuse, and the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, The early indications of our impact have been positive and promising.
Through this new funding opportunity, we hope to expand our reach and scale our impact to ten additional EMDTs. We will continue to provide innovative strategies and resources or each team’s daily operations; technical assistance for team support and case consultations; training for professionals serving teams; guidance on integrating specialty services into the work of the teams; strategies to ensure responsiveness to each community; guidance on trauma-informed culture and responses; and advice on sustainability and long-range funding strategies. We will also assess and disseminate the impact of the training and TA assistance provided as well as continue to refine our infrastructure, ensuring the quality of support to current and future teams and the older victims they serve.