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Elder Abuse Essay Awarded Research Article of the Year

Nurse with elderly woman

Carolyn Ziminski Pickering, PhD, RN, has been bestowed the honor of Research Article of the Year in the 2013 Journal of Forensic Nursing, for her article entitled, “Injury Patterns and Causal Mechanisms of Bruising in Physical Elder Abuse.” College of Nursing retreat, Staff and faculty head shots.

Each year, families are faced with the difficult decision of finding care for elder members of their family. While there are many different types of care to choose from, one must ultimately think of what is best for the person in need. While we search for a way to make our loved ones as comfortable as possible, elder abuse is not something that often crosses one’s mind.

According to Pickering, “elder abuse affects 1 out of 10 community-dwelling older adults, and 1 out of 2 community-dwelling older adults with dementia, yet it is vastly underreported to community agencies with estimates that only 1 out of every 6 cases of elder abuse is reported.”

“When writing a paper in nursing school I came across a paper citing the prevalence of elder abuse. At the time I was working as an extern on an Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit, and I reasoned that if 1 in 10 older adults are a victim of abuse that meant at any given time 2 patients (of the ACE’s 20 bed unit) were a victim. I asked my nurse manager how many patients we had reported to the social worker as possible victims of elder abuse and she replied none,” said Pickering, “I knew then that my research career was going to be dedicated to elder abuse.”

“My intentions for my research program when I first began were to help nurses in identifying and assisting victims of elder abuse. I recently decided to expand my program to consider the needs of perpetrators as well. As a forensic nurse, I have a duty to care for all those affected by violence, including the perpetrator,” said Pickering.

Pickering’s article highlights the link between forensic medicine and elder abuse. According to Pickering’s article forensic nurses aid in determining injury patterns and causal mechanisms of bruising in elder abuse, however “forensic markers for elder abuse” need to be established due to a complexity in determining if symptoms are due to abuse or health causes.

Pickering has been invited to the International Association of Forensic Nurses Awards Presentation, where her award will be presented in the Opening Session on Oct. 22 in Phoenix, AZ.  During the conference she will be presenting a poster of her article as well as a 3-hour workshop entitled, “Research for the Practicing Forensic Nurse.”

Reference: Ziminski, C. E., Wiglesworth, A., Austin, R. Phillips, L.R. & Mosqueda, L. (2013). Injury Patterns and Causal Mechanisms of Bruising in Physical Elder Abuse, The Journal of Forensic Nursing, 9(2), 84-91. doi: 10.1097/JFN.0b013e31827d51d0

Article courtesy of College of Nursing http://nursing.msu.edu/News%20and%20Events/Archived%20News/Elder_Abuse_Essay_Pickering.htm

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