On the Front Lines:

How Multi-Disciplinary Teams Identify, Address and Prevent Elder Abuse

What Are Specialized Multi-Disciplinary Teams?

Evidence shows that a collaborative response to elder abuse improves our ability to respond effectively, especially in an environment with scarce resources. Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) bring together groups of professionals serving victims of elder abuse – such as geriatricians, prosecutors, protective services caseworkers, law enforcement officers, social workers, finance and accounting experts, and mental health specialists. This model allows the unique knowledge, experience and perspectives of different professionals to combine into a united front. As a collaborative group, they tackle the intricate, often convoluted circumstances of abuse.

How Do MDTs Work?

Multi-Disciplinary Teams review, discuss and coordinate cases of elder abuse and neglect, and identify systemic and resource problems that can be brought to the attention of others for strategizing and intervention. An elder abuse case is initially referred to an MDT by a professional contacting the MDT Coordinator. The team then hears a presentation on the case and works together to problem-solve, develop an action plan and coordinate responses.

All of the MDTs offer a central response point for the agencies and people working on elder abuse cases in the community. Professionals throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan have an opportunity to present complex elder abuse cases to the MDTs to receive recommendations on assessment and interventions from the teams.

Who Participates in MDTs?

Multi-disciplinary teams represent a highly collaborative endeavor to respond to elder abuse. They regularly bring together professionals from diverse fields such as social work, medicine, law, nursing and psychiatry from systems as wide-ranging as criminal justice, health care, mental health, adult protective services, and the aging network. Additionally, MDTs serve as an important informational resource for professionals.

A video demonstrating how an MDT responds to a case of elder abuse can be viewed here, and more information about the MDT’s can be found here.

What’s Next for MDTs?

Our partner, the New York City Elder Abuse Center is currently expanding their award winning Multi-Disciplinary team concept throughout all 5 New York City boroughs. These MDTs will serve as models for the creation of MDTs across the nation.

The work of our Multi-Disciplinary teams has been made possible by private philanthropy, foundations, and a grant from the New York City Department for the Aging.

You can help support the MDTs by making a donation to EAS. Donate now.