What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is a term that relates to protecting children, people under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults, from harm and is specifically relevant to companies or individuals working to deliver care in a variety of forms. It also relates to the promotion of child welfare, protecting the vulnerable from maltreatment and preventing impairment of a child’s health and development.
Having a safeguarding policy in place helps to protect and promote the welfare of the vulnerable and gives assurance to staff as well as parents and carers.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
Vulnerable adults are those who are aged 18 years or above who have a mental or physical disability, due to age or illness and are in need of a service of care because they are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or exploitation.
Safeguarding adults prevents abuse of all types including physical, sexual, psychological, discriminatory, financial or material, and acts of omission. Abuse from partners, children, relatives, friends, neighbours and even care workers can occur in both domestic and institutional environments.
In terms of safeguarding, disabled children are classed as the most vulnerable group, due to physical, sensory or learning disabilities that require the part-time or full-time support from either parents or carers. Expressing their feelings and requirements can be impaired due to communicative or mobility issues and in some cases, numerous care services are required to fulfil their needs. For this reason, it leaves them open to a greater risk of abuse or neglect, which they may find difficult or even impossible to convey.
The Department for Education, who deal with all aspects of safeguarding children, have developed practice guidance for several circumstances including Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and professional carers. This guidance can be found and downloaded here.
The Care Act 2014
The Care Act 2014 brought about a framework of duties by which local authorities had to adhere to. In brief, local authorities must now; prevent abuse and neglect, ending it swiftly when it occurs; enquire when they suspect vulnerable adults with care needs could be at risk of abuse; establish a Safeguarding Adults Board to implement a safeguarding strategy; carry out reviews, and organise independent advocate representation and support.
The full Care Act 2014 can be viewed here at the legislation.gov.uk website.
Children Act 2004
The first Children Act was published in 1989 with a revised edition that strengthened the Act in 2004. This was, in many ways, a vital bit of legislation that not only created the post of Children’s Commissioner for England but also placed responsibility for local authorities to appoint a director of children’s services. To view the full Children Act 2004, click here.
Mental Capacity Act 2005
The Mental Capacity Act was brought about in 2005 and is aimed to protect those aged 16 and over, who lack the mental capacity to make judgments about their own care and personal treatment. This act applies to vulnerable people who suffer from dementia, severe learning disabilities, brain injuries, mental health condition, strokes, and accident or anaesthetic induced unconsciousness.
The purpose of the Mental Capacity Act is to ensure that a capacity assessment has to be carried out to assess whether a person has the capacity to make a decision themselves. Vulnerable people have to be given information in the format that they can understand in order to make a decision for themselves.
To read the full Mental Capacity Act 2005 click here.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
Following on from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, or DoLS. The purpose of these safeguards is to ensure that all vulnerable people who reside in care homes, hospitals or supported living, are allowed to exist in a way that does not inhibit their freedom. For example, a vulnerable person has to be provided with a representative who has the right to challenge a deprivation of liberty which can then be reviewed and monitored regularly.
Issues and Complications associated with Safeguarding
As with all aspects of care, there can be issues and complications associated with safeguarding. One of these issues is maladministration of medication. For example, sedatives can be misused to control the challenging behaviour of vulnerable people or misappropriation and misuse of drugs by staff can occur, although only isolated cases have been recorded.
The most common complication is in regards to poor medication management. Worryingly as many as 70% of residents experience some form of medication error per day, according to recent research carried out by the Department of Health. Over or under-dosing, medication being given at the wrong time or even the wrong medication being administered altogether, are all issues that can occur, and, although this often leads to no significant harm, serious consequences can transpire.
For more information about the maladministration of medication, a booklet produced by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society concerning the handling of medicines in social care can be viewed and downloaded here.
Safeguarding Training Course
Here at Caring for Care, we provide you with a range of safeguarding training opportunities. Our three-hour, face-to-face courses provide you with working knowledge of safeguarding adults and safeguarding children and are great as a refresher course or for new staff entering the world of care. Additionally, we also run face to face training regarding the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).
As well as face-to-face safeguarding training, we also provide you with a high quality, CPD accredited e-learning option, so you can learn at your own pace.
If you would like to learn more about our safeguarding training options please visit this link. Alternatively, why not call us 01782 563 333 and speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.
ADT Healthcare offers a free helpline dedicated to assisting women and families suffering from drug, alcohol and mental health issues.
ADT Healthcare was founded in 2011 by people who overcame drug and alcohol addiction themselves.
Care Quality Commission http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/safeguarding-people
Social Care Institute for excellence http://www.scie.org.uk/adults/safeguarding/
North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board http://www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk/