The 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary Edith+Eddie tells the story of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, who marry in their mid-90s and become known online as "America’s oldest interracial couple". More than an inspiring love story, theirs also is a cautionary and heart-breaking tale about the state of elder justice and guardianship in the US as Hill's daughters battle over her care and the wishes of the couple to remain together. More →
In September 2014, elder justice experts, funders, and other stakeholders from around the country gathered in New York City for a day long symposium, Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Teams: Planning for the Future to examine the value of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), plan for broad replication of this effective intervention, and explore ways to sustain them.
At the end of this historic day-long event, participants identified four recommended priorities for the field with respect to sustaining and replicating MDTs. The details of these recommendations have been collected, along with background information and additional commentary on MDTs, into a monograph, which can be found here.
The symposium identified 4 priorities for the elder justice field to strengthen, sustain and replicate MDTs:
Create a compelling body of evidence demonstrating the value of MDTs. Research on MDTs is needed to describe the national landscape of teams, compare outcomes across teams, create a definition/measure of success and conduct a nationally relevant cost benefit analysis.
Become more vocal and persuasive advocates for MDTs as part of a broader movement for elder justice. The elder justice movement needs messaging that underscores the urgency of elder abuse, exemplifies the importance of MDTs and motivates Americans to protect older adults. There is also the need to increase national and local momentum for the movement by forming strong coalitions and leveraging the Elder Justice Act and Elder Justice Roadmap.
Cultivate funding for MDTs to achieve sustainability. A key theme that emerged from the day-long symposium was the need for increased funding to support MDTs. There are several ways to achieve increased funding including exploration of public-private partnerships and continued engagement of forward-thinking foundations, private philanthropists and government. In addition, there is a need to develop a strategic message that would be used when communicating with potential funders.
Provide resources and technical assistance to guide the startup of MDTs nationally and refine practice. Many extant MDTs that have been and are doing great work. The creation of a national resource center on MDTs would help build on the work that’s been done and support new emerging teams nationwide.
The MDT Symposium monograph was prepared by Risa Breckman, LCSW, Director, NYC Elder Abuse Center, Jean Callahan, Esq, MSW, Director, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College and Joy Solomon, Esq, Director & Managing Attorney, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. Questions, comments and ideas are welcome. Please use the blog comments section below to share your thoughts.
By Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA, NYCEAC Social Media Manager and Risa Breckman, LCSW, NYCEAC Director.