A new program between Emory University and a metro Atlanta county aims to fill the gaps in treatment and investigation of elderly abuse.
The partnership is being called one of the first of its kind in the nation. Officials with Emory and DeKalb County say it provides a better system to get elderly abuse victims into protective shelter more quickly.
Doctor volunteers at an Emory elderly care center will work closely with county investigators.
DeKalb solicitor-general Robert James says the pilot program is actually a helping-hand to state services:
"At nighttime and on the weekend, when police departments and fire and rescue get called-out the most, adult protective services is not working...they’re not funded for night and weekend. And that’s when our volunteers are going to kick-in, and when we’ll see a lot of the people coming to the special pathway program.”
Thomas Price is one of the main Emory doctors involved in the program. He says he'll develop an operating manual for the volunteer-run program:
“That would allow it to be replicated in other counties in Georgia, and hopefully at one point in the future be submitted to the federal government on a larger scale.”
Price says hopefully the program can draw future federal funding.
Officials say elderly abuse is a serious and under-reported problem. A recent nationwide federal justice-funded study found an estimated 1 in 9 elderly adults are reported as abused.