Detecting elder financial abuse : Cues used by health, social care and banking professionals in classifying cases as true instances of financial abuse.
Gilhooly, M. L.
The aim of this study was to examine decision-making by health, social care and banking professionals in relation to the detection of elder financial abuse. Three research questions guided this study: 1 What are the cues or patterns that are perceived as triggering suspicions of financial abuse? 2. What kinds of decisions are made? 3. What are the case features that make decisions difficult? Data was collected via in-depth semi-structured interviews (n = 63) using the critical incident technique to focus on each professionals most recent experience of elder financial abuse. Content analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted to consider decision making in the context of such abuse. Results identified critical incidents of financial abuse including stolen possessions, money being taken from bank accounts, and rogue traders. A number of cues were found to raise suspicion of such abuse including: ‘identifier of abuse’, ‘financial problem suspected’, ‘physical and mental capacity’, and ‘living circumstances’ of the older adult. The cues used by health and social care professionals were similar; bankers, being more concerned with safeguarding money, used slightly different cues; who is in charge of the older person’s money was a key cue category for those in banking. Decision making was not always straightforward. Study participants reported a number of problems in relation to decision making and knowing the best course of action when elder financial abuse was suspected.