is interagency coordination necessary to stop elder abuse?
victims have diverse and multiple needs, it's unlikely that
any single agency can provide everything that's needed to
stop abuse and treat its effects. Some clients need services
from several agencies. If services are not well coordinated,
clients may have difficulty negotiating the complex service
network, "fall between the cracks," fail to receive the
help they need, and/or be subjected to unnecessary delays,
frustration, trauma, and intrusion into their lives. On
the other hand, when services are well coordinated, it reduces
the need for multiple interviews, which, in turn, cuts down
on trauma and inconvenience for clients and reduces wasteful
overlap and duplication.
can communities improve coordination?
following tools and techniques can help agencies work together:
protocols define the roles and relationships among agencies.
They typically include guidelines for referring cases
to one another, clarify each agency's responsibilities
for assessing and investigating reports; define the circumstances
in which joint investigations should be initiated; establish
timelines; and provide for the sharing of information
and client confidentiality.
of understanding (MOUs) are informal contracts that commit
agencies to following established protocols or agreements.
They ensure that the agreed upon protocols are fully understood,
endorsed by the agencies' leadership, and that they will
be passed on to new staff.
investigations. When it is likely that a client may need
to be assessed or receive services from more than one
agency or program, joint investigations may reduce delays
and reduce the need for multiple interviews.
and multidisciplinary teams