Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts at ELM

by Skye Felsing, Project Administrator, PREVNT Initiative

This post is part one of a series of blog posts covering Elder Law of Michigan’s efforts and partnerships to prevent elder abuse across Michigan.

ELM Logo 2014 - Blue 2Here at Elder Law of Michigan we are constantly searching for ways to involve ourselves in the betterment of Michigan’s senior community. Over the years this practice has helped spur the growth of our organization, but more importantly we have broadened our services to seniors and strengthened our ability to provide those services.

Recently, a highly intriguing opportunity was brought to our attention and we knew we had to be part of it. For 2015, the State of Michigan allocated funding for projects that meet six objectives regarding elder abuse in Michigan. We submitted a proposal and were awarded funding for four of those projects! We are thrilled to begin work on each of the projects and to further our work toward combating elder abuse.

For our part of the overall project, we have created the Prevent Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse, Exploitation, Neglect Today (PREVNT) Initiative. The objectives that were laid out by Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (MOSA), encompassed the main issues that are present today in regards to the state of elder abuse in Michigan. The overarching theme is essentially to understand the degree of elder abuse and to establish programs and resources that can aid in the prevention of elder abuse. As aforementioned, ELM was awarded funding to begin work on four of the main issues. They include creating an integrated elder abuse reporting system design, creating an integrated benefits screening and referral tool, training in-home MI Choice Waiver nurses to use an elder abuse scale, and creating an Elder Justice Task Force to provide a state level voice for elder abuse.

To create a design for an integrated elder abuse reporting tool, we have partnered with Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. The Institute of Gerontology is recognized as one of the top five gerontology research institutes in the nation – and the only one with a fully developed outreach and education program. An integral part of creating the design of the reporting system is researching what systems already exist and what data elements they have or do not have. In other words, we need to find out if other states have similar systems and what data is reported within them. Finding out what data is or is not included in those reporting systems is essential to determining the design of a new reporting system. We want to make sure that every aspect of elder abuse is reported in order to accurately describe the magnitude of the problem. Wayne State will focus its time on this research with these goals in mind.

In the end, this reporting tool will allow the State of Michigan, and organizations that deal with elders and elder abuse, to gain a much better understanding of the challenges that we face with regards to elder abuse. It will allow for much needed data collection and analysis that will provide the information necessary to prevent elder abuse from happening. We hope that designing this tool will aid in building upon the foundations of elder abuse prevention in Michigan.

Stayed tune to hear about the other projects we are undertaking here at Elder Law with the PREVNT Initiative!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkye Felsing is a Project Administrator for the PREVNT Initiative who has been at Elder Law since June of 2013. Skye graduated from Michigan State University in 2011 with a degree in social studies education.

Prior to working at Elder Law of Michigan, Skye spent 5 months teaching English in Thailand. Upon her return to the United States, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Lansing area. Recently, she has joined the PREVNT Initiative providing administrative support for ELM and our partners in the project.

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