Archstone Foundation Funds Vulnerable Adult Specialist Team

Posted November 1, 1999 | Archived News | 1999-2004

The Vulnerable Adult Specialist Team (VAST) is a multidisciplinary medical team designed to assist in cases of elder and dependent adult abuse. In working with Adult Protective Services (APS), law enforcement, the district attorney, the public guardian and other social service agencies serving abused elder and dependent adults. Team goals include:

  • Creating a medical elder and dependent adult abuse response team that provides medical and psychological assessment of victims for mandated victim service agencies;
  • Obtaining legislative mandate and funding for the continuation of the program by providing state lawmakers with sufficient and compelling information to enact legislation based upon the outcomes of the project;
  • Assessing the necessity and effectiveness of having a multidisciplinary medical response team available to the elder and dependent adult abuse service network.
  • Advancing the field of elder abuse by creating a practical, replicable approach in which social, medical, and legal services coordinate efforts in order to successfully recognize, report, examine/document, and prosecute elder abuse and neglect. 

The Program in Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine, in partnership with numerous Orange County agencies, is leading the way in developing and implementing a critical component-medical assessment to the problem of elder and dependent adult abuse. The first of its kind in the nation, the VAST model is funded by a generous grant from the Archstone Foundation. The multidisciplinary team of experts is comprised of a geriatrician, psychologist, social worker, nurse practitioner, and two gerontologists. This three year project examines the need and impact of medical/forensic consultation on referring agencies.

Since its inception, April 2000, VAST experts have responded to 327 inquiries of abuse cases from these referring agencies.