Are you safe at home? It's a simple question that social workers, nurses, physicians, emergency medical technicians, and indeed all health care providers need to ask their older patients every time they see them. Why? Because that simple question can be a crucial first step toward identifying potential elder mistreatment.
Where our patients sometimes live in darkness, squalor, danger and hunger, whether run-down trailer, homeless tent or government project, the emergency departments are different. They are places of bright lights and warmth, safety and relief; where beds are clean and food is available. And if nothing else, places where there are people who are interested and polite.
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