Doctors and health workers

Medical practitioners and other health workers are often in an ideal position to identify the early warning signs of abuse because they witness its impact on an adult’s physical, mental or emotional wellbeing. A GP or health care worker’s often longstanding and consistent relationship with a patient means they may be the first to notice changes in that person’s wellbeing, especially if they are socially isolated.

Guides to the indicators and possible symptoms of intimidation and abuse are listed below.

Resources to help GPs and other health workers identify early warning signs of abuse in patients

  • The Queensland Government has developed a six-step Elder Abuse online resource to help health professionals assess and respond to elder abuse.
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) also has guidelines for general practitioners and other primary care health professionals about a range of topics including elder abuse. Abuse and violence — Working with our patients in general practice contains evidence-based guidance on appropriate identification and response in clinical practice for patients experiencing abuse and violence.

Helping us complete our investigations for vulnerable adults

General practitioners can greatly assist OPG investigations because we need to establish whether an adult has capacity or not.

We frequently write to GPs to ask for a capacity assessment and this helps us determine whether a person is being abused, neglected or exploited and if we can act to protect them.

Your timely response to an assessment request is appreciated and can mean we’re able to protect an adult from further harm.

Please note that OPG is unable to pay a GP to provide this service.