What is a multidisciplinary team?
teams are groups of professionals from diverse disciplines
who come together to provide comprehensive assessment and
consultation in abuse cases. While their primary purpose
is typically to help team members resolve difficult cases,
teams may fulfill a variety of additional functions. They
can promote coordination between agencies; provide a "checks
and balances" mechanism to ensure that the interests and
rights of all concerned parties are addressed; and identify
service gaps and breakdowns in coordination or communication
between agencies or individuals. They also enhance the professional
skills and knowledge of individual team members by providing
a forum for learning more about the strategies, resources,
and approaches used by various disciplines.
serves on teams?
disciplines that are typically represented on elder abuse
teams include adult protective services, the civil and criminal
justice systems, health and social services, and mental
health. Some teams include domestic violence advocates,
substance abuse specialists, clergy, and policy-makers.
Financial abuse specialist teams, or FASTs, focus on cases
involving exploitation and include representatives from
financial institutions, including banks or credit unions,
stock brokerage firms, mortgage lenders, private trustees
or guardians, and others (see information on FASTs
in the Technical Assistance Toolbox).
do teams work?
are as diverse as the communities in which they reside.
Although the criteria used to select cases to review varies
from team to team, most review cases in which prior interventions
have proven unsuccessful as well as cases in which multiple
agencies are involved and there is a lack of clarity regarding
each agency's role. Some discuss "success stories" to demonstrate
effective techniques or interventions. By discussing "real
life" situations, teams are also likely to identify systemic
problems that can be addressed through advocacy, training,
or coordination. Some teams address these issues themselves
while others refer them on to other appropriate agencies,
committees, or individuals for follow-up.
also vary in their level of formality. Some have handbooks,
"job descriptions" for members, membership agreements, and
guidelines for presenting cases. Many find it helpful to
distribute minutes summarizing case discussions and clarifying
what has been decided. Some make it a point to follow up
on all cases that are discussed so that team members receive
feedback on outcomes.
can I learn more?
of membership agreements, guidelines, and more are available
in the technical assistance toolbox.