International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Recognition of elder abuse by home care workers and older people in Romania

Ioana Caciulaa1 c1, Gill Livingstona2, Rodica Caciulaa1 and Claudia Coopera2

a1 “Equilibre” Humanitarian Association, Bucharest, Romania

a2 University College London and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, London, U.K.


Background: No previous studies have considered elder abuse in Eastern Europe. We aimed to determine the proportion of home care workers and older people receiving care in a Romanian home care service who correctly identified elder abuse in a vignette, and who had detected elder abuse at work.

Methods: In 2009, care workers and clients of a non-government home care organization serving four areas in Romania completed the Caregiver Scenario Questionnaire to measure ability to identify abuse. We asked the professionals whether they had detected a case of abuse.

Results: 35 (100%) professionals and 79 (65.8%) older people took part. Four (11.4%) professionals had encountered a case of elder abuse, two (5.7%) in the last year. No staff and only one older person correctly identified all four abusive strategies in a vignette. Staff with more professional caregiving experience recognized fewer abusive strategies (r = −0.46, p = 0.007).

Conclusion: Rates of identification were worryingly low among all professionals, and this was more marked if they had worked longer, suggesting their experiences may have reduced their ability to detect it. Mandatory abuse training for care professionals, and strategies to support reporters of suspected abuse, could help improve the management of elder abuse in all countries.

(Received September 24 2009)

(Revised November 06 2009)

(Revised November 16 2009)

(Accepted November 18 2009)

(Online publication January 25 2010)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Ioana Caciula, “Equilibre” Humanitarian Association, Al. Valea Rosie nr. 4, Bl. M4, Sc. A, Et. 5, Ap. 24, sector 6, Bucharest, Romania. Phone: +40 723545940; Fax: +40 217461052. Email: