Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Li, Yawen


Purpose: This study explored how equipped medical social workers are with adequate training to detect and report elder abuse in hospice.

This study was carried out in Southern California with the help of participants who currently or have previously worked as medical social workers in hospice. The eleven participants are all women of varying backgrounds in age, ethnicity, cultures, work experience, and licensures.

In the United States, elder abuse is known to affect approximately one out of ten Americans aged sixty and over. However, there are ways we can combat elder abuse. One of the major ways is by properly educating and training medical social workers who work with the elderly population to detect, identify, report, and intervene when elder abuse is suspected. This study obtains a better understanding of how medical social workers are supplied with adequate training to detect and report elder abuse in hospice. Data for this study was collected through interviews of medical social workers who currently work or have previously worked in hospice.

Analysis of the interviews revealed that participants who did receive mandatory and volunteer training at their hospice agencies on elder abuse, most expressed that the training they did receive was beneficial. Although, they did express a need for more comprehensive and extensive training that would challenge them and further their current knowledge on elder abuse. Along with mandatory and volunteer training, participants also shared their formal education, in the classroom and through internship, as beneficial in being able to identify, detect and report elder abuse in hospice. Results in volunteer training were similar to mandatory training in that participants found it beneficial because it was more comprehensive information that challenged and furthered their current knowledge. These findings reveal the professional and educational needs of medical social workers in hospice. Participants expressed a need for more training and education that would further their knowledge and understanding of elder abuse. Therefore, it is the social workers’ and hospice agencies’ responsibility to provide and participate in more comprehensive and extensive training in elder abuse that will create more adept social workers in hospice.

Included in

Social Work Commons