Improving medicolegal death investigative gaps of fatal elder abuse

Stacy A. Drake, Sabrina Pickens, Dwayne Wolf, Kathleen Thimsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this brief is to present several case vignettes that illustrate omissions in the investigation of elder deaths. These vignettes demonstrate the need for a standardized approach in the conduct of medicolegal investigations of fatal elder abuse. For each of the described oversights, a recommendation is offered to address the gap in investigation processes, which in turn could improve the determination of cause and manner of elder death. Inherent limitations of resources and practical realities of death investigation are discussed and recommendations are made for future research. Viewed broadly, deficiencies in elder death investigations can lead to the underreporting of elder abuse and the reduction of legal options for victims, which may reflect a systemic pattern of social injustice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Brief report
  • elder abuse and neglect
  • forensic nursing
  • forensic pathology
  • medicolegal death investigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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