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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for preventing abuse in the elderly

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (92nd percentile)

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39 X users
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1 Google+ user


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Interventions for preventing abuse in the elderly
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010321.pub2
Pubmed ID

Philip RA Baker, Daniel P Francis, Noran N Hairi, Sajaratulnisah Othman, Wan Yuen Choo


Maltreatment of older people (elder abuse) includes psychological, physical, sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Evidence suggests that 10% of older adults experience some form of abuse, and only a fraction of cases are actually reported or referred to social services agencies. Elder abuse is associated with significant morbidity and premature mortality. Numerous interventions have been implemented to address the issue of elder maltreatment. It is, however, unclear which interventions best serve to prevent or reduce elder abuse. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of primary, secondary and tertiary intervention programmes used to reduce or prevent abuse of the elderly in their own home, in organisational or institutional and community settings. The secondary objective was to investigate whether intervention effects are modified by types of abuse, types of participants, setting of intervention, or the cognitive status of older people. We searched 19 databases (AgeLine, CINAHL, Psycinfo, MEDLINE, Embase, Proquest Central, Social Services Abstracts‎, ASSIA, Sociological Abstracts, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, Web of Science, LILACS, EPPI, InfoBase, CENTRAL, HMIC, Opengrey and Zetoc) on 12 platforms, including multidisciplinary disciplines covering medical, health, social sciences, social services, legal, finance and education. We also browsed related organisational websites, contacted authors of relevant articles and checked reference lists. Searches of databases were conducted between 30 August 2015 and 16 March 2016 and were not restricted by language. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-randomised trials, and quasi-RCTs, before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series. Only studies with at least 12 weeks of follow-up investigating the effect of interventions in preventing or reducing abuse of elderly people and those who interact with the elderly were included. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed the studies' risk of bias. Studies were categorised as: 1) education on elder abuse, 2) programmes to reduce factors influencing elder abuse, 3) specific policies for elder abuse, 4) legislation on elder abuse, 5) programmes to increase detection rate on elder abuse, 6) programmes targeted to victims of elder abuse, and 7) rehabilitation programmes for perpetrators of elder abuse. All studies were assessed for study methodology, intervention type, setting, targeted audience, intervention components and intervention intensity. The search and selection process produced seven eligible studies which included a total of 1924 elderly participants and 740 other people. Four of the above seven categories of interventions were evaluated by included studies that varied in study design. Eligible studies of rehabilitation programmes, specific policies for elder abuse and legislation on elder abuse were not found. All included studies contained a control group, with five of the seven studies describing the method of allocation as randomised. We used the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool and EPOC assessment criteria to assess risk of bias. The results suggest that risk of bias across the included body of research was high, with at least 40% of the included studies judged as being at high risk of bias. Only one study was judged as having no domains at high risk of bias, with two studies having two of 11 domains at high risk. One study was judged as being at high risk of bias across eight of 11 domains.All included studies were set in high-income countries, as determined by the World Bank economic classification (USA four, Taiwan one, UK two). None of the studies provided specific information or analysis on equity considerations, including by socio-economic disadvantage, although one study was described as being set in a housing project. One study performed some form of cost-effectiveness analysis on the implementation of their intervention programmes, although there were few details on the components and analysis of the costing.We are uncertain whether these interventions reduce the occurrence or recurrence of elder abuse due to variation in settings, measures and effects reported in the included studies, some of which were very small and at a high risk of bias (low- and very low-quality evidence).Two studies measured the occurrence of elder abuse. A high risk of bias study found a difference in the post-test scores (P value 0.048 and 0.18). In a low risk of bias study there was no difference found (adjusted odds ratio (OR) =0.48, 95% 0.18 to 1.27) (n = 214). For interventions measuring abuse recurrence, one small study (n = 16) reported no difference in post-test means, whilst another found higher levels of abuse reported for the intervention arms (Cox regression, combined intervention hazard ratio (HR) = 1.78, alpha level = 0.01).It is uncertain whether targeted educational interventions improve the relevant knowledge of health professionals and caregivers (very low-quality evidence), although they may improve detection of resident-to-resident abuse. The concept of measuring improvement in detection or reporting as opposed to measuring the occurrence or recurrence of abuse is complicated. An intervention of public education and support services aimed at victims may also improve rates of reporting, however it is unclear whether this was due to an increase in abuse recurrence or better reporting of abuse.The effectiveness of service planning interventions at improving the assessment and documentation of related domains is uncertain. Unintended outcomes were not reported in the studies. There is inadequate trustworthy evidence to assess the effects of elder abuse interventions on occurrence or recurrence of abuse, although there is some evidence to suggest it may change the combined measure of anxiety and depression of caregivers. There is a need for high-quality trials, including from low- or middle-income countries, with adequate statistical power and appropriate study characteristics to determine whether specific intervention programmes, and which components of these programmes, are effective in preventing or reducing abuse episodes among the elderly. It is uncertain whether the use of educational interventions improves knowledge and attitude of caregivers, and whether such programmes also reduce occurrence of abuse, thus future research is warranted. In addition, all future research should include a component of cost-effectiveness analysis, implementation assessment and equity considerations of the specific interventions under review.

X Demographics

X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 750 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Portugal 2 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 746 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 124 17%
Student > Bachelor 108 14%
Researcher 75 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 73 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 42 6%
Other 111 15%
Unknown 217 29%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Nursing and Health Professions 141 19%
Medicine and Dentistry 132 18%
Psychology 88 12%
Social Sciences 61 8%
Business, Management and Accounting 10 1%
Other 79 11%
Unknown 239 32%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 85. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 13 June 2023.
All research outputs
of 24,914,266 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,007 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 320,590 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 261 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,914,266 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,007 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.1. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 320,590 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 261 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.