Programs for Latino, Chinese, Lgbt Elders Win Asa Awards

Article excerpt

A service to prevent elder abuse among mostly Latino elders; a program to assist Chinese elders to become American citizens; and a multiset-vice effort to provide a safe, comfortable environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) people received the 2007 awards for excellence in multicultural aging programs from the American Society on Aging's Network of Multicultural Aging (noma). The recognition program, created in collaboration with aarp, presented its awards plaques during the association's recent conference in Chicago.

PROTECTING OLDER LATINOS

The Adult Protection Team (APT), part of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), is located in the outpatient clinic at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center (LAC+USC Medical Center), a public hospital serving elderly and dependent adults who are victims of abuse and neglect. With a predominantly bilingual staff, APT serves 5,000 people a year in East Los Angeles, a mostly Latino area.

According to Diana Schneider, APT medical director, "Through APT, a population that would be otherwise isolated by language and cultural barriers and the fear of further abuse is able to receive needed medical attention. They are also able to access mental health care, safe housing and other supplementary services such as clothing and transportation vouchers."

Although the program primarily focuses on victims of abuse, she said, APT also provides primary geriatric care to vulnerable patients who are not necessarily at risk for abuse or neglect. In addition, the team found another client group that needed APT services: Social workers from the county's Adult Protective Services (APS) program often require assistance when their clients are hospitalized or in another facility where medical information needs to be translated into English.

When APT was created in 2001, the LAC+USC Medical Center did not have a specific geriatrics clinic, Schneider explained. Consequently, VIP partnered with the hospital's geriatrics division to establish the Geriatric/Adult Protection Team clinic. The partnership enabled APT to add a component of prevention to the program. "All seniors and dependent adults seen in the clinic are screened for abuse or neglect and are monitored closely for caregiver burnout and signs of risk factors," she said.

The APT staff also has conducted educational programs about the abuse of elders and dependent adults in every department at the hospital and in many of its residency programs, Schneider noted. For example, internal medicine residents now rotate through the geriatrics clinic and receive a lecture about abuse and neglect. Additionally, APT developed laminated cards and posters with a protocol titled "What to do when you suspect abuse or neglect." The cards remind emergency room staff and residents to call the APT team when they identify cases needing APT intervention.

The APT team includes a geriatrician, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, a medical case worker, a community worker, and administrative and clerical personnel. The team also includes a Los Angeles County APS worker who is stationed onsite at the clinic. Besides the Spanish-speaking staff, the clinic also has access to the hospital's interpreter services, which include more than 40 languages.

Kidest Babi, APT's geriatrics nurse practitioner, said that each month, the APT clinic provides medical care and forensic evaluations to 300 elderly and dependent adults who have been victimized or are at risk for abuse or neglect. The clinic provides ongoing medical care to elderly victims or those at risk, the majority of whom have multiple health concerns and live at or below poverty level. APT, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, evaluates any case of concern in the emergency room or hospital.

In addition, APT provides forensic documentation of elder abuse victims in cases of physical abuse, neglect, selfneglect, psychological abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse. …