Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Consideration for Use of Assessment/Screening Tools

Assessment and screening tools are controversial; RNAO recommends nurses and other health-care providers are alert for risk factors and signs of abuse and neglect during assessments and encounters with the older adult (and others involved in their life and care).

If using assessment and screening tools, be mindful of the points:

  • Tools should not be used as a checklist.
  • Screening and assessment tools are not diagnostic tools.
  • Nurses and other health-care providers using tools must be appropriately trained.
  • The use of tools requires sensitivity and therapeutic communication skills.
  •  Nurses and other health-care providers using tools should consider what follow-up support will be offered if abuse or neglect is identified.
  • More than one tool may be required to identify different types of abuse and neglect.
  • Nurses and other health-care providers should be mindful of cultural aspects and the unique needs of sub-populations of older adults during the screening process.
  • Few tools have been validated for languages other than English.

Details about specific screening tools can be found in the BPG in Appendix G.

Older Adults
Preventing and Addressing Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults: Person-Centred, Collaborative, System-Wide Approaches
Sample Tools