Laura Mosqueda, MD, chair and professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been awarded a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation for $775,000 to develop, test and evaluate a model to help identify victims of elder abuse during hospital stays, and to intervene when abuse is suspected. She will work with a team of elder abuse prevention experts from four states to mobilize over a two-year period.

The intervention is intended to ensure that older people seen in medical settings are properly assessed for mistreatment. Once screened, they can receive appropriate treatment or referrals. The end goal is that the model for screening created out of this project can lead to support and foundations that deter or alleviate abuse on a national scale in hospitals across the country.

“We look forward to joining with colleagues across the country to develop a method for screening for and detecting elder abuse that just about any health care system in the country can use,” Mosqueda said. “The synergistic work with other important leaders will eventually lead to a true reduction of abuse in this country.”

The John A. Hartford Foundation is invested in practice innovations that transform the delivery of care for older adults. According to its objectives, the organization is focused on supporting evidence-based models to improve the care of older adults, as it supports society as a whole.

“This initiative represents an important first step toward finally closing what we see as a gap in our health care system,” said Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, in a statement. “Clearly, no health system can truly be considered ‘age-friendly’ if elder mistreatment goes unchecked.”

— Claire Norman