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NCJ Number: NCJ 239923   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Coroner Investigations of Suspicious Elder Deaths
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Laura Mosqueda M.D. ; Aileen Wiglesworth Ph.D.
Date Published: 07/2012
Page Count: 95
  Annotation: This study examined the process used in California when making decisions about the investigation of suspicious deaths of elderly persons.
Abstract: At least since 1999, coroner/medical examiners (CMEs) in California counties have participated in Elder Death Review Teams, which study and learn from suspicious deaths of elderly persons, as well as improve communication among public agencies in identifying barriers and fill systems gaps. These efforts are identifying concerns and generating local improvements. The current study reconfirmed a finding of Elder Death Teams, i.e., that CME offices are failing to assume jurisdiction over elder deaths that should be investigated. Some other concerns revealed in interviews and from data analyses are that some agencies’ policy is not to investigate all accidental deaths of elderly persons; that there are impediments to obtaining information from the most efficient data source on an elder death, i.e., reporting parties already at the death scene; and that the lack of data-collection standards among CME agencies complicates any effort to set a baseline or measure future progress toward improving processes for detecting suspicious elder deaths. The authors conclude that the science of elder death investigation is unlikely to advance if CME agencies are not investigating suspicious deaths. Also, reporting parties and CME investigators are not receiving training on what little is known about signs and factors associated with caregiver neglect and elder abuse. In addition, CME decisionmakers are biased against investigating elder deaths, since a natural death is more likely with advanced age. Finally, CME agencies are under pressure because of limited funding and heavy workloads, which increases the likelihood that decisionmakers will initially assume that a natural death is likely when the deceased is elderly. 1 exhibit and 9 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Coroners ; Crimes against the elderly ; Elder Abuse ; Investigative techniques ; Death investigations ; Elderly victims ; NIJ final report ; California
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 2008-MU-MU-0021
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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