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A Possible Case of Abuse

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Jackie provides home care services to several elderly individuals in her town and, recently, has become very concerned about one of them, Leona. Leona lives with her son, Tom; his wife, Susan; and their grown daughter, Emily. During the day, Emily takes care of Leona, while at night Tom and Susan take over as caregivers. Jackie comes every two days to check Leona’s blood pressure and to make sure she is taking her medication correctly.

Today, when Jackie asks Leona how she is, Leona responds by turning toward the wall and mumbling that she is fine and doesn’t need anything. Leona is usually very talkative, so her short response is unusual; therefore, Jackie moves to look at Leona’s face to ask her more questions. She sees that Leona has bruises on her wrists that look like finger marks, but when Jackie asks Leona what happened, Leona tells her nothing happened. Jackie, however, notices that Leona seems nervous when answering Jackie’s questions, especially when Emily walks past the open door to Leona’s room.

After taking Leona’s blood pressure and noting that it is higher than usual, Jackie goes to the kitchen to check on Leona’s medication. As she walks into the room, she sees Emily putting the pill bottles in the cupboard. When Leona checks the pills, she notices that there are fewer pills than there should be. Jackie asks Emily about the pills and the bruises on her grandmother’s wrist, and Emily says, “There’s nothing wrong. The old lady’s fine.”

Jackie tells Leona goodbye and that she’ll be back tomorrow instead of in two days. In her car, Jackie writes up her notes from the visit and calls her supervisor to report the incident and her suspicions about possible abuse in the home. If problems continue, she and her supervisor may have to report the possible abuse to the county.

© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners