Safeguarding people simply means protecting people from potential threats. However, when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable adults in care, it means so much more. Safeguarding vulnerable adults in care includes:
- Protecting their rights to live in safety
- Protecting them from abuse, neglect, and lack of care
- Ensuring that well-being is embraced and adults are treated carefully and respectfully and given importance
Safeguarding vulnerable adults
With the increase in the adult population, there has been a significant increase in the demand for adult care homes. It does not mean that the care homes do not provide the required amount of care, it is the dependency of the patients that makes them vulnerable. Care homes try their best to provide the best facilities but maltreatment and abuse of adults can occur at all levels. This is the reason why the Care Act 2014 was introduced. The Care Act 2014 gives a clear legal framework for the local authorities and the care homes on how they should protect the rights of the adults and safeguard them from potential abuse and neglect.
What are the safeguarding principles in the Care Act 2014?
The Care Act 2014 sets out six safeguarding principles for Safeguarding Adults Boards (SABs) to protect the rights of adults and provide them legal protection against potential abuse and neglect. These six safeguarding principles are:
- Empowerment - People should be allowed to make their own decisions without coercion, and give free consent
- Prevention - Any potential threat should be dealt with immediately before it causes any harm to adult patients
- Proportionality - The potential risks should be dealt with proportionally, and appropriate steps should be taken based on the nature of the proposed risk
- Protection - The rights of the adults should be protected at all costs and SABs should represent those in great need of care.
- Partnership - SABs should work in collaboration with the local communities which are believed to have a role to play in the betterment of society. The SABs, in collaboration with the local communities, should detect, report, and prevent any case of abuse and neglect
- Accountability - Transparency should be maintained throughout the practice of safeguarding
The above principles empower the members of the SABs to take appropriate action against any case of adult abuse and neglect. These principles do not apply to the care homes but they have their own rights and duties by which they should abide.
Over the years, maltreatment of older people has been considered adult abuse and, in recent times, many countries have passed laws to protect the rights of adults living with their families, as well as in care homes. According to studies, adult abuse ranges between 2% to 10% and the figure tends to increase day by day with the significant increase in the adult population. This is the reason why it is important to help those who have spent their lives raising their children and preparing them for the future.