Challenges in handling elder abuse in community care. An exploratory study among nurses and care coordinators in Norway and Australia

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Aim and objective.

The aim of this study was to explore how nurses and care coordinators in community care in Norway and Australia experienced and handled cases of abused older clients, including the support they received in clinical interventions.


Norway and Australia base their approaches to elder abuse problems on similar philosophies. The Australian Government, however, has taken a more active position on this issue by focusing on structures and policies that might influence professionals’ handling of abuse cases. The organisation and funding of community care services in the two countries are different, although common concerns are client-centeredness, equal access to services and enabling the client to live at home as long as possible.


Explorative design with a qualitative hermeneutic approach.


Twenty participants, nurses, auxiliary nurses and care workers in Norway and Australia, were recruited by purposeful sampling. They participated in in-depth interviews.


The similarity of the information given in the two countries was striking. The interventions differed based on the type and seriousness of the abuse and the client’s cognitive capacity. Financial abuse was a more prominent issue in Australia than in Norway. The handling of neglect cases in both countries followed much the same pathway and the intervention usually involved long-lasting processes. The managers’ support and the elder protective services were of great importance to the nurses.


Community care agencies in both countries struggle with similar problems in handling cases of abuse. The participants’ concerns were securing and supporting the older victim by individualising the intervention.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Community care agencies in both countries need to be aware of the huge impact of the managers’ involvement and the services’ responsibility and capacity to support professionals in the handling of elder abuse.

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