Thursday, 13 June 2013

Abuse (Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults)

Abuse : Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons which may cause significant harm to or exploitation of individual.
Who are they? : Abuser can be parents, family members, nurses, care professionals, informal carer, neighbour even in a word anyone.
Where can the abuse take place? : Abuse can take place anywhere. This includes:

  • A person’s own home
  • A friend or relative’s home
  • A hospital
  • Nursery
  • A care home
  • A day service
  • An educational establishment
  • A public place
Forms of abuse : There are many forms of abuse. They are  -

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Institutional
  • Neglect         

Physical Abuse : Any abuse involving the use of force is classified as physical abuse. This can mean punching, hitting, kicking, burning or scalding. Even leaving service user in wet or soiled clothing or bedding, deliberate starvation or force feeding and refusal to allow access to toilet facilities are categorized as physical abuse.

Symptom :

  • Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two side of the body
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly (a prescription has more remaining than it should)
  • Broken eyeglasses or frames
  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone

Sexual Abuse : Sexual abuse is the involvement of people in sexual activities which they do not understand or which they have not given consent to.

Symptom :

  •  Bruises around breasts or genitals
  • Unexplained vaginal disease or genital infections
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
Emotional or Psychological Abuse : Emotional abuse is any action which has an adverse effect on an individual’s mental wellbeing, causes suffering and effects their quality of life.
Symptom :
  • Withdrawal, depression
  • Cowering and fearfulness
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Agitation, confusion, change in  behaviour
  • Change in appetite/weight

Financial Abuse : Misuse or stealing of someone’s money, propetry, pension or other valuable because of their lack of knowledge or consciousness or they are not aware of it.

Symptom : Stealing from or defrauding someone, withholding money to buy food or medical treatment, manipulating or exploiting someone for financial gain, denying access to financial resources, preventing a person from working or controlling their choice of occupation, denying access to financial information such as how much money is coming in, how much is owed, controlling the bank accounts, taking away cheque book or credit cards.

Institutional Abuse : Institutional abuse involves failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour that amount to discrimination through ignorance, thoughtlessness, stereotyping and rigid systems.

Symptom :    

  •           Not providing healthcare, but charging for it
  •           Overcharging or double billing for medical care or services
  •           Getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or prescribing certain drugs
  •           Overmedicating or Under-medicating
  • ·         Recommending fraudulent remedies for illness or other medical condition.

Neglect : Neglect is the failure to provide necessary care, assistance, guidance or attention that causes, or is reasonably likely to cause the person’s physical, mental or emotional harm or substantial damage to or loss of assets. Neglect has two forms. They are -
  •   Active neglect which is the intentional withholding basic necessities of life (including care).
  •   Passive neglect is not providing basic necessities of life because of lack of experience, information, or ability. 

What should you do?

Record and report to the responsible person. Do not distrust what you saw and what you have been told. Do not keep any secret. Do not promise to keep secret. Do not judge. Do not confront with the abuser about this issue. Keep safe all of the evidence. Do not tamper with evidence. Record and report clearly to your manager in appropriate form without any delay. If not confident to report to the manager then report it to the following authority : Local authority Adult Services Dept. (Social Services), Police, Care Quality Commission, Independent Safeguarding Authority, NSPCC.

Sources of Information and Support : More information and support you may have from –

Manager , Local authority Adult Services Dept (Social Services)

Policies and Procedures, Internet, Books,

Care Quality Commission

Independent Safeguarding Authority 

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