Rush geriatrics program partners with St. Louis University to educate health

May 02, 2001

Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center will partner with Saint Louis University to provide programming through an SLU five-year grant to educate health care professionals on geriatric health issues, including recognizing and reporting elder abuse. Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center is located in Chicago.

The grant will provide funds to train health professionals from Illinois and Missouri to better diagnose, treat and prevent disease and other health concerns of the older adult population. "Elder abuse is the most urgent issue to address with both the public and health care professionals," said Dr. Martin Gorbien, section director, department of geriatric medicine at Rush. In Illinois, it is estimated that more than 76,000 persons over age 60 are victims of elder abuse, yet only 8,000 cases are reported to the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program. "The grant will allow us to concentrate our initial efforts on raising the awareness of elder abuse," he said. The Illinois-Missouri Gateway Geriatric Education Center (GEC) is one of 34 federally funded GECs that provide geriatric education to health care professionals in the United States. GECs are administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Elder abuse is defined as several kinds of mistreatment of anyone over age 60, including: physical and sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglecting to provide the necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care.

Currently, Illinois Law requires that all health care professionals, social service professionals, educators, and law enforcement personnel, must file a report within 24 hours of the suspected abuse to the Department of Aging's Elder Abuse and Neglect Program.

"Given the gap between the number of cases of elder abuse and the number reported, I think we need to do a better job of educating the public and mandated reporters about this issue, and this grant will help us provide that training to people who care for the estimated 2 million people who are over age 60 in Illinois and Missouri," Gorbien said.

Eventually, Rush and St. Louis University will expand their education efforts to reach more than 20 different health disciplines.
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center includes the 824-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital; 110-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about two million people through its outpatient facilities and five member hospitals.

Rush University Medical Center

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