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We All Have a Part to Play in Safeguarding the Vulnerable

Safeguarding and Protecting Vulnerable Adults is everyone’s responsibility

Safeguarding Awareness Week 2018
Monday 25th – Friday 29th June

Many adults rely on other people to help them in their day to day living. This may be due to illness, disability or frailty. They may be at risk from people they know such as a relative, friend, neighbour or paid carer, or less frequently, by a stranger.

Adult abuse is defined as a singular or repeated act, or lack of appropriate actions, which occurs within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, for example between a vulnerable adult and their carer. Abuse can be either physical, mental, or neglectful.

What is a Vulnerable Adult?

A vulnerable adult is generally defined as someone aged 18 or over who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or physical disability or ill health, age or illness, and who may be unable to protect his or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

People with learning disabilities are 4x more likely to become victims of abuse.
Financial abuse is the most common form of abuse amongst vulnerable adults.
Majority of known abuse happens in residential care.

When abuse occurs, the abused adult may present symptoms such as seeming withdrawn, appearing unkempt, and appearing to have lost weight. There may be unexplained injuries and behavioural changes, such as aggression or emotional instability which can provide clues that the person is in distress.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

Safeguarding is designed to keep an individual safe and to prevent the occurrence of abuse, or further abuse, where harm has already occurred. The Department of Health for England and Wales sites six primary principles of comprehensive safeguarding practice:

Empowerment: presumption of person-led decisions and informed consent – those with capacity legally & ethically have the right to make decisions about their own care

Protection: support & representation for those in greatest need. Patients should be given support to protect themselves where possible

Prevention: it is better to take action before harm occurs. All adults have a right to holistic care focussed on their individual needs, including to be kept safe

Proportionality: Options should be presented which are proportionate & least intrusive/restrictive of individual rights & choices, while remaining appropriate to the risk presented

Partnership: local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting & reporting neglect & abuse

Accountability: accountability & transparency in delivering safeguarding. Good safeguarding requires collaboration and transparency with partner agencies

Responsibilities in Health Care

Safeguarding concerns can be raised by anyone, but circumstances of abuse may be particularly apparent to those in direct and frequent contact with the abused, such as care workers or other healthcare professionals.

Staff in contact with vulnerable adults should feel equipped and confident in each of the following areas:

  1. Be able to recognise and respond appropriately to concerns of a potential adult at risk
  2. Be aware of the types of abuse and possible signs and symptoms and their impact
  3. Have an understanding of their roles and responsibilities with regard to safeguarding vulnerable adults
  4. Have an awareness of legislation, policies, procedures and guidance relating to the protection of adults at risk
  5. Know how to report a concern, disclosure or allegation of abuse
  6. To be aware of the importance of effective multi-agency practice.

Ensuring your organisation has policies and procedures in place for safeguarding vulnerable adults from harm and abuse, and enabling staff and volunteers to know what to do if they have concerns or receive a disclosure is imperative. Support staff should be fully equipped to manage the often difficult and stressful situations that are presented whilst safeguarding vulnerable adults.

Steps Training are fully committed to delivering dynamic and engaging training courses in order to achieve the highest possible standard across care and support services. We offer Bespoke In-House training for your organisation, as well as regular Open Courses. See Safeguarding & Protection of Vulnerable Adults or upcoming training course dates.

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