Webinar presenters Peg Horan and Lindsay Calamia answered a number of your questions after their webinar, "Growing and Nurturing Elder Abuse Multi-disciplinary Teams." Here are some of their answers.
Audience Question: Do you have everyone on the team sign a confidentiality form prior to each meeting? How do you protect confidentiality especially when it involves HIPAA kind of information?
Peg Horan: We have a confidentiality agreement that was drawn up by team members, attorneys, and was approved. Each core member gets the confidentiality agreement approved by their legal department or their directors and so on. That confidentiality agreement was worked on for quite a while as you can imagine until it got into a really good shape. When you sign a confidentiality agreement, it's good forever really, on that particular team. If you attend a Brooklyn multidisciplinary meeting meaning you signed a confidentiality agreement once. For some reason you want to appear at the Manhattan meeting, you have to sign a confidentiality letter there once and it's good for the life of the Manhattan multidisciplinary team.
Lindsay Calamia: I want to add on to that Peg that in the Finger Lakes region very similar in terms, I think our confidentiality forms are pretty much the same but our team members sign up once a year. They just keep it updated annually. When a new person comes to the meeting, you might have a case presenter who does not regularly sit on the meeting but they're coming to present on a case, our teams would have that person sign an agreement then and again if that person came back within in a year, have that updated. I have also heard of other teams depending on how you build your confidentiality agreement or an MOU, they have done it for the agency. Sign it once and then anyone coming from that agency is covered under with that confidentiality agreement. That's another way of doing it. It's just in the way you design your forms. Peg and I, I think, we both are willing to share the forms that our teams use if you're looking for more info and want to contact us.
Audience Question: We did have another request on another thing that you might be able to share. The safe space mantra, I've never actually heard of it, we have someone else on the audience who said they have never heard of it. We don't know if you have available online maybe you could send us as well that we can put on the page?
Peg Horan: Sure, absolutely and look we just made that up. We'll be happy to share it with you.
Lindsay Calamia: I can bring it up on the screen if that will help.
Audience Question: When you're talking about bringing on new members, are you talking about bringing on new agencies or talking about specific individuals within that agency?
Peg Horan: A core member is an organization. We have core members that are organizations like NYPD and Adult Protective Services, etcetera. There are organizations, those core members typically identify a lead rep and a team rep. That lead rep might be somebody higher up in the operations, they might not come to the meeting but their team representative will come to the meeting.
Lindsay Calamia: For new member, I think we're talking about inviting a new agency like you mentioned because the agency would be the member of the team. I think if people are having challenges of who will be the representative, who is coming to the meetings, that would be a definitely different discussion in terms of how to approach that. If you are saying this representative, if there are challenges then that would be different.
Audience Question: Do you recommend having senior personnel, senior leadership as part of the regular core team, as an individual in a core team?
Peg Horan: I want to jump in on this, Lindsay. I say yes. I say yes because I think that in my experience while that having senior folks in a room says to the whole team that this is important, I am here because this is important. I think the coordinator who shines a light on the frontline workers, excellent work, it's really good to do that in front of a senior staff. To nurture a team to grow a team it's going to take time but when I think about the Brooklyn multidisciplinary team and in Manhattan multidisciplinary team we have senior people in that room and we've got the frontline people in that room. At this point because we have been going for a couple of years, people are comfortable with that. With the senior people often in that room, they get us access, we need them in the room.
Lindsay Calamia: I agree with that as well. Having someone at the table who is a decision maker in the agency I think is very important. At the table we're often asking, is this something your agency is capable of managing or take this referral. Having a person with that level of authority to make that decision and to over facilitate the follow through of the action staff, facilitate in making sure it's implemented. That's also really important. We acknowledge that members in those agencies depending on the size of their community, that senior leadership role, their time might be very limited. So, also having a designated alternate who can attend in place of that member when the need arises, the ability to be flexible is also powerful in that as well. And determining as a team how can we communicate to the senior partnership what we decided if this is a follow up email or phone call just so we're on the same page
Audience Question: Do you have a formal process for bringing new members up to speed on current cases?
Peg Horan: No, we don't, but maybe this will help — our cases are presented on slides, the first time it's brought to a team it's like seven or eight slides. Then we set the action plan, okay you're going to do this, you're going to do that, you're going to do that, you want to do that, we set a follow-up date. November second, we're going to send this case back to the team and now maybe if a new member has joined us between now and November second, the new member is going to come to the November second meeting, we're going to show some of the slides that we showed in the initial presentation just to get the team members back on, to remind them of the different portions of the case. I guess in answer to your question is no there's no formal updating of a new member agency. They just need to catch up and it's what really happens and they do.
Audience Question: The next questions is talking a bit more about one the stories that you mentioned that where the daughter was in Florida and the possible abusive brother was in New York. They just wanted to know how that ended up playing out. How much are you able to share though?
Peg Horan: I made that up, that is some story. I wouldn't have talked about a real case anyway without heavily closing it. I was giving you an example of what it might feel like if I'm the daughter in Florida and I don't have the money to get into New York to help my mother who is being financially exploited by my brother. There's a helpline in New York City well, New York City Elder Abuse helpline for that daughter in Florida to say oh my God I can't believe this happening to my family, I am freaking out. So, support and counsel, is what the helpline offers.
Audience Question: Do you make any database or referral system for your cases?
Peg Horan: We do have databases. They are protected. NYC Elder Abuse Center, Weill Cornell Medicine these databases are protected and yes, we maintain them and that's how we track the cases.
Lindsay Calamia: The Finger Lakes team and some other New York state team, we have 28 teams up and running right now in New York state including the New York City area and other areas, they are county-based or borough-based. But we have a referral form like a pdf available form. Each team has a structured intake process or a referral process. Not everyone wants to use the form to make a referral but currently we don't have a referral system in place where say another agency could access the system to initiate a referral it's pretty much phone-based, or email, or connecting in another way but having a brief referral form can be helpful in having a snapshot and can prompt the coordinator to begin that intake, begin that referral.