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Case detection of mistreatment against older adults by health and social services professionals

Themes: Co researcher


Pierre Maurice and Julie Laforest, from the Quebec’s National Public Health Institute (INSPQ)

Marie Beaulieu, Ph. D., University of Sherbrooke


Partnership between the INSPQ and the Chair


Louise Belzile, former Ph.D. student and research assistant


The INSPQ’s regular budgets and the Research Chair’s funds


March 2011 to August 2013


Co-researcher in all stages of the project.


In the context of the development of the Quebec Governmental Action Plan to Counter Elder Abuse 2010-2015, Marie Beaulieu began a reflection on the subject of the validity of the numerous existing detection tools for mistreatment. Quebec’s Ministry of Health and Social Services had given the INSPQ a mandate to assess the current state of knowledge on case detection regarding mistreatment of older adults by primary care workers, which resulted in the collaboration of the Chair in this project.

To allow the intervention at the earliest stage possible in situations of mistreatment against older adults, it is essential that primary care workers receive appropriate training and also that validated detection tools be made available to them.


Assess the current state of scientific knowledge on case detection by health and social services primary care workers of mistreatment of older adults living independently.


  1. What are the recommendations issued by organizations and experts concerning case detection?
  2. What are the factors which influence case detections by health care and social services professionals?
  3. What are the existing detection tools for health professionals that can help them detect mistreatment situations among seniors, and what is the validity of these tools?
  4. How effective are these interventions at increasing the detection of mistreatment situations by health care and social services professionals?


To answer these questions, diverse strategies were used. For example:

  • Literature review based on the following terms and synonyms: ‘senior population,’ ‘mistreatment,’ and ‘case detection.’
  • Selection of articles based on targeted keywords mentioned above;
  • Analysis focused on case detection tools, conclusions, and recommendations found in the scientific literature review;
  • Establishment of an advisory committee composed of a range of experienced actors in research as well as in the clinical field.


The work was completed in 2013.

Fifteen tools met the selection criteria (scientific rigour). They were briefly presented in the research report with an analysis of their scientific qualities and limits.

The report entitled “Case Detections by Frontline Healthcare and Social Services Professionals” was released in the summer of 2013.


Beaulieu, M., Laforest, J., Maurice, P., & Belzile, M. (26 novembre 2013). Détecter la maltraitance envers les personnes aînées à l’aide d’outils validés dans différents pays: Comment vulnérabilité et risques sont-ils appréhendés? Colloque « Vieillissement, citoyenneté, vulnérabilités : mise en perspectives de recherches internationales » organisé par la Maison des sciences de l’homme de Bretagne. Rennes (France).

Laforest, J., Beaulieu, M., Belzile, L., & Maurice, P. (6 novembre 2013). Favoriser la recherche de cas de maltraitance commise envers les aînés – Réflexion critique pour la pratique de première ligne. Conférence canadienne sur la prévention des traumatismes et la promotion de la sécurité. Montréal (Québec).

Beaulieu, M. (3 octobre 2013). Des outils validés pour détecter la maltraitance. Colloque « Prévenir la maltraitance envers les aînés ». Rivière-du-Loup (Québec).

Laforest, J., Belzile, L. & Beaulieu, M. (9 mai 2013). Repérer l’exploitation financière et matérielle commise envers des aînés : les outils de détection peuvent-ils nous aider ? Colloque « L’exploitation financière des personnes aînées : prévention, résolution et sanction » dans le cadre du 81e congrès de l’ACFAS. Québec (Québec).

Beaulieu, M., Laforest, J., & Belzile, L. (November 2012). Elder Abuse Detection: A Systematic Review of Validated Tools. GSA 2012. San Diego (California, USA) (communication non présentée).

Belzile, L., Beaulieu, M., & Laforest, J. (October 20th, 2012). Elder Abuse Detection: What About the Use of Validated Tools? 41st Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Gerontology. Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada).


Laforest, J., Belzile, L., Beaulieu, M., & Maurice, P. (accepté août 2013). Repérer l’exploitation financière commise envers les aînés : les outils de détection peuvent-ils nous aider ? Dans Crête, R., Tchoutchourian, I. & Beaulieu, M. (eds.) L’exploitation financière des personnes aînées : enjeux de droit et de société (titre provisoire). Montréal : Éditions Yvon Blais.

Laforest, J., Maurice, P., Beaulieu, M., & Belzile, L. (2013). Recherche de cas de maltraitance envers des personnes aînées par des professionnels de la santé et des services sociaux de première ligne. Institut national de Santé publique. Québec (Québec). 102 p.