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The USC Center for Elder Mistreatment team, with funding from the Administration for Community Living, is working on a project to enhance knowledge of the range of elder abuse multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in the U.S. Specifically, we aim to gain insights into the elder abuse forensic center (EAFC) model and other MDTs that are similar in structure and function to EAFCs. Because these teams are a potentially important tool to address the growing problem of elder abuse, it is important to understand their essential components, functioning, and outcomes. The ultimate goal is to improve decision-making about EAFCs and elder abuse MDT implementation and facilitate replication.

This project is being carried out in four stages:

1) Conduct a national inventory of elder abuse MDTs

We cast a wide net across the country to identify as many elder abuse MDTs as possible, also soliciting information about each respondent’s experience with the MDTs they’re aware of. Please see the draft list we have compiled and let us know if there are any MDTs that we have missed.

2) Conduct an in-depth survey of elder abuse MDTs:

We are contacting one key informant for each MDT identified in Stage 1, and asking them for a range of information about the MDT. The goal is to identify data points that allow us to distinguish between those MDTs that look like EAFCs vs. those MDTs that have a different approach/structure.

3) Conduct a “process, practice, and impact” analysis of identified elder abuse MDTs

Of the MDTs that are identified as being similar in nature to EAFCs, we will ask specific, in-depth questions about processes, practices, and impacts/outcomes. We may also ask questions directly of MDT team members, if that approach proves to be feasible.

4) Conduct site visits to three elder abuse MDTs:

We will select three of the MDTs from Stage 3 to visit in person to help elucidate nuances in how the model can vary. We will observe an official meeting, review the physical location/day-to-day activities, and conduct focus groups with team members.

Also as part of this project, we are funding and evaluating emerging practices to the delivery of services by elder abuse MDTs, especially those that are similar in nature to elder abuse forensic centers. In Year 1, we began funding and are evaluating the Forensic Center Service Advocate model, based at the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center. Three additional emerging practices/MDTs have received support in Year 2 of our project:

Grantee: Enhanced Multidisciplinary Teams (E-MDT) in Upstate New York State; Lifespan of Greater Rochester

Rochester, NY
Project: Evaluation of the role and utilization of a Forensic Accountant
Goals: To evaluate the role and added value of a forensic accountant assisting in cases of elder financial exploitation. Evaluation activities include survey of E-MDT members to explore outcome selection, data collection and extraction from case files, and summary of evidence on efficacy and effectiveness within the E-MDT model.

Grantee: Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse (CREA); Meritan

Memphis, TN
Project: Development of a Rapid-Response model, aligning APS and the Senior Protection Coalition (SPC) Multidisciplinary Team
Goals: To improve coordination of services and activities between APS and the SPC, this project aims to decrease response time from intake to case planning, increase organizational capacity, and thereby improve overall standard of care. Primary focus is analysis of current workflow, to identify and reduce duplication in screening and expedite case review and case planning.

Grantee: The Peninsula Elder Abuse Forensic Center (PEAFC); Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health

Williamsburg, VA
Project: Integration of a Forensic Accountant into the PEAFC
Goals: To implement and evaluate the use of a Forensic Accountant into case investigations, this project will explore cases in which Forensic Accountant expertise was utilized, with focus on case typology, efficacy, and outcomes. PEAFC team member satisfaction of the PEAFC and the Forensic Accountant will also be elicited and assessed.