23 January 2009 – London, England, United Kingdom Dr Claudia Cooper, of Department of Mental Health Sciences at University College London is the lead researcher on a study of 220 family caregivers of elders with dementia that was published in the British Medical Journal and reported in the Telegraph. The study produced some interesting figures on the frequency of abuse. While only 1.4 % admitted to physical violence, 52.3% admitted occasional verbal and emotional abuse and 33.6% reported frequent and significant levels of abuse. Three percent of respondents indicated that they were “afraid” that they might carry out physical violence. The Telegraph quotes Dr. Cooper as follows:
This is the first representative survey to ask family carers about abuse. It shows that abusive behaviour towards people with dementia from family carers is common according to the scale used, with a third reporting ‘significant’ levels of abuse, and half some abusive behaviour. We found few cases of physical or frequent abuse, although those with the most abusive behaviour may have been reluctant to report it, or take part in the study in the first place.
Published 22 January 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b155
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b155
Abuse of people with dementia by family carers: representative cross sectional survey
Claudia Cooper, MRC research training fellow in health services research and health of the public, Amber Selwood, honorary senior lecturer, Martin Blanchard, senior lecturer in old age psychiatry, Zuzana Walker, senior lecturer in old age psychiatry, Robert Blizard, principal research fellow, Gill Livingston, professor of older people’s mental health
1 Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, W1W 7EJ
Correspondence to: C Cooper email@example.com