12.1 Health professionals play an important role in identifying and responding to elder abuse. As front line service providers, they have regular contact with older people. However, health professionals may often only have a small window of opportunity to assist. This may be due to an older person’s reluctance to repeatedly discuss the abuse or neglect they are suffering, or due to limited opportunities to seek assistance. It is therefore important that health professionals are able to take advantage of any opportunity to assist, by for example by relying on multi-disciplinary approaches and integrated models of care to provide coordinated support and assistance for an older person suffering abuse or neglect. Health-justice partnerships in particular may have great potential in responding to elder abuse.
12.2 However, there are also barriers to identifying and responding to elder abuse. There are concerns that health professionals need training to identify and respond to elder abuse, and that duties of confidentiality and privacy laws may limit health professionals’ ability to respond to elder abuse.
12.3 This chapter also considers whether the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may be an avenue for elder abuse.