Legal challenges of working with elder adults

Legal challenges of working with elder adults

Research by Lau, Brodney and Berg (2008) shows that the purpose of legal issues is to guide on how the practitioners need to conduct themselves in counselling and solving challenges faced by the clients. Failure of the counsellor to act on the laid down principle and rules can lead to criminal cases as postulated by the state law. The practitioner must keep accurate records showing treatment programmes when dealing with the elder adults. Welsh (2006) argues that in the case of the medical officer engaging in malpractices when dealing with the client, his or her records must be reviewed to find out whether the practice is in accordance to the caring standards. The practitioner must act in accordance to the clinical records laid down to protect the occurrence of malpractice actions that affect the well being of the client. The investigator of the records kept by therapist provides evidence by looking at how the therapist has deviated from the code of conduct laid down. Also the study clearly explain that the therapist is required to show that he or she used the appropriate approach even though cannot guarantee the result. The practitioner may be sued in case of deviation from the standard of care. Another legal challenge facing therapist is the provision of information to the customers to assist them in making appropriate decisions.

Ethical and legal implications of the case study

Legal issues are supposed to provide substance and the way in the emergence of ethical issues.  Lau, Brodney and Berg (2008) record that, though legal and ethical issues are not related, ethical issues may lead to lawsuits of the complainant and the legal issues of the complaint are required to show the required conducts of therapists. Therapists should show concern of protecting rights of the customers through development of steps that help in making the appropriate choices. Informed consent play a role of ensuring that the customers are given freedom to act without obstacles in decision making through provision of information concerning customers rights and responsibilities and of the therapists as well as the nature of the treatment. The work of Corey, Gerald, Corey and Callanan (2010) record that the aim of informed consent is to increase the amount of alternatives and to recognise the therapeutic customer as an active member. The practitioners should provide sufficient and necessary information to the clients and to other therapists to help in making informed decisions. Ethical and legal aspects help in solving ethical difficulties faced by the therapists as a result of conflicting responsibilities of the practitioners.

In dealing with Catherine, the medical office should convey the right information to aid in appropriate decision by Catherine and Linda. The therapist should follow the set ethical and legal codes in dealing with Catherine to avoid challenges that may come to Catherine and the family as a result of deviating from the clinical code of conduct.

Mandatory reporting challenges

As it has been proposed in the case study, the practioners and the clients may find it difficult to consult their colleagues that can help in appropriate decision making. Also reporting challenge exists because the therapists have many responsibilities apart from taking care of the clients. Practitioners experience confidentiality problem because they hold responsibilities to the agencies, community, profession and families of the clients which may be conflicting to one another. According to Corey, Gerald, Coreyand Callanan (2010) practitioners face reporting challenge in providing information to the customer to aid the decision making by the clients. The provision of appropriate information and at the right time hinders therapists’ performance. The informed consent aims at increasing the amount of choices which can create a challenge about the best alternative to choose by both the clients and the medical assistants.

How to assess and evaluate Catherine’s needs           

According to Corey, Gerald, Corey and Callanan (2010) states that it is recommended to examine the mental status that will include cognitive screening. This is because as Welsh (2006) records, most of older adults lack cognitive impairment. Also in assessing Catherine’s needs trauma and other symptoms should be checked regularly because she can minimise the effects of the symptoms.



How to direct Catherine’s therapy

As the counsellor, I would advice Catherine’s daughter to be ensuring that Catherine visits the physician much often to ensure that she receives the appropriate screening, intervention and assessment services. Catherine should be assessed on trauma and other related symptoms regularly because she may fail to report the experiences. Also I would provide the necessary information to Linda that can help in identification of sign of Alzheimer’s disease that can help her in taking the appropriate decisions. Screening can help to identify the cause of mental lapse and her changing behaviour. I would then direct for treatment considerations following the results of screening.


Lau, L.-F, Brodney, M. A., & Berg, S. (2008). Alzheimer’s disease. Berlin: Springer.

Welsh, E. M. (2006). Topics in Alzheimer’s disease. New York: Nova Biomedical Books.

Corey, Gerald, Corey, M. S., Callanan, P. (2010). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, 8e, 8th Edition.


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