5: Developing Protocol

5: Developing Protocol

Chapter 5: Summary


There are a number of issues your MDT will need to discuss as the framework for the MDT begins construction. The decisions associated with these issues are then formalized in written protocols, which are simply a compilation of the MDTs procedures. Protocols are important in that they provide structure, predictability, and accountability for the MDT.

Issues to Discuss

At this point, your community has discussed a number of meta-issues such as organizational structure and MDT members. In this chapter, more micro-level issues are raised for discussion, including cultural competency (see Exhibit 1). Ultimately, these decisions will form the foundation for writing protocols that will articulate members’ responsibilities and ensure consistency in their work, but for now, your community can discuss the various options associated with each of the 16 issues listed in the Toolkit item titled: Issues for Initial MDT Discussions.

Take the Time

Be prepared to spend considerable time up front discussing these issues. This process takes more time than many anticipate and it may become frustrating for some members of the MDT. However, this groundwork is crucial for the functioning of the MDT.


Translating Decisions into Protocols


Eventually, your community may want to formalize decisions made about the issues discussed by writing protocols, which are documents that contain information about how the MDT is going to operate (i.e., the procedures) (for examples see the Toolkit item titled: Sample Protocols and Policies). Procedures describe the steps taken to complete a specific function in the day-to-day operations of the organizationand are critical to well-functioning MDTs. Protocols should be somewhat flexible. Too much specificity contained in the protocols can be used against the MDT under certain circumstances.

Exhibit 1. Enhancing Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is receiving increased attention in the field of elder abuse (Imbody & Vandsburger, 2011). Cultural competency involves adopting practices that are sensitive to the range of diverse populations (ethnic, gender, ageism, sensory impairments, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, literacy, educational status) with which the MDT members will interact. However, your MDT will need to be sensitive to the cultural values and beliefs of the MDT members as well as clients.

The following are some suggestions for enhancing the MDT’s cultural competency:

• Materials are available in languages that reflect the MDT’s community.


• Mechanisms for translation services (not family members) are in place (NCCC, 2015).


• Bi- or multilingual professionals are available to respond to victims (including ASL)

(NCEA, 2007).


• During case review, cultural competency is considered when making decisions about a



• Victims are involved in the case management process to guard against insensitivity.


• Protocols include a reward structure for MDT members who participate in cultural

competency training.


• MDT members are actively encouraged to recruit staff, volunteers, and board members

that reflect the demographics of the community.


• The MDT guards against ageism in part by following the UN’s Principles for Older Persons

(United Nations, 2000).


• Relevant cultural information (country of origin, language spoken, religion) is collected on

the intake form.


• Within immigrant populations, social workers view the older adults’ beliefs about

interdependence as both healthy and necessary in their everyday lives (Lee & Fatona,