6 tips for protecting your elderly patients

Financial abuse is on the rise, says medicolegal expert

Financial abuse by unscrupulous family members is a growing problem among the elderly, says medicolegal adviser, Nerissa Ferrie.
While she concedes it can be difficult for doctors to determine who is acting in the patient’s best interests, Ms Ferrie of MDA National says these six steps will help protect them:
1.    Undertake a capacity assessment and document this in the medical records.
2.    Consider referral of patients to a geriatrician or arrange an ACAT assessment if capacity appears to be a source of dispute within the broader family.
3.    Assist the Guardianship Tribunal by providing timely and accurate reports, with the patient's (or guardian’s) consent, or on receipt of an Order from the Tribunal.
4.    Patient confidentiality is important, and your role is to act in the best interests of the patient, not the patient’s relatives or beneficiaries.
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