by Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA
Social Media Manager, NYCEAC
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In a podcast, Evaluating Elder Abuse Research Studies, Mary S. Twomey, MSW, National Center on Elder Abuse at University of California, Irvine interviews NYC Elder Abuse Center Director, Mark Lachs, MD, MPH about elder abuse research. The conversation suggests ideas for how non-researchers can evaluate published elder abuse research – while also discussing the challenges in conducting this research and the future of research in the elder justice field.

Click here to view the Podcast!

Synopsis of the Podcast

Dr. Lachs suggests readers consider the following when evaluating a research article:

          • Has the author articulated a specific research question?
          • Is there a clear description of the research methods and study population?
          • Are the clients you are interested in learning about similar to those in the study? (E.g., a study on adult  day care or nursing home residents would not apply to community residents.)

Dr. Lachs advises readers to consider the following when reading an intervention research article:

        • Has the intervention been carefully described?
        • Is the intervention replicable?
        • Is there a control group?

Dr. Lachs also highlights some of the obstacles that researchers confront in this field.  For example, elder abuse prevention and intervention research is difficult to conduct because participants can be frail, isolated, cognitively impaired, and have medical problems.  In addition, the research may have to be conducted in abusive environments, creating unique challenges for investigators. Dr. Lachs also notes that many types of abuse are lumped together in research and subject to the same intervention.  However, this is not representative of how interventions are applied in practice and therefore the research results may be of limited use to practitioners.

As the elder justice field evolves, professionals will continue to grapple with understanding these complex dynamics.

What is on the horizon for research in the field of elder abuse?

        • Financial exploitation
        • Resident to resident mistreatment
        • Dementia specific research
        • Evaluating multidisciplinary teams

For researchers interested in conducting research in this field, there are many areas to explore. The elder justice field needs your contributions!

 Thank you, Mary and Mark, for a great Podcast!

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