Recognizing Abuse and Self Harm in Service Users

1331 words (5 pages) Essay in Social Work

14/08/18 Social Work Reference this

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Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons, consisting in single or repeated acts, may occur in any relationship and any context, some instances of abuse will constitute a criminal offence.

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A definition of abuse in vulnerable adults was given in 1997 Consultation Paper “Who Decide” by the Lord Chancellor’s Department, who said that any person who is or may by in need of community care service by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, who is or may be unable to take care or protect of him/herself against significant harm or exploitation. Types of abuse include: physical or sexual; emotional/psychological, including that related to age, race, gender, sexuality, culture or religion; financial; institutional; self neglect; neglect by others.

The vulnerable adults could be abused by a wide range of people, including multidisciplinary team in health care setting, family, friends, strangers, one in four vulnerable elders are at risk of abuse and only a small proportion of this is currently detected. The NHS and Community Care Act 1990, have eligibile criteria for those who suffer or cause harm or exploitation. The role and responsibility of every member from multidisciplinary team is to collaborate effective in identifying, investigating and responding to allegation of abuse. This must start from staff as a operational level, line manager, corporate authority, chief executives and to the local authority members.

In the case of Stafford Hospital scandal, were found many forms of abuse against people. There was a complete failure of management what led to a totally unacceptable failure to treat emergency patients safely and with dignity. The low staffing levels, inadequate nursing, lack of equipment, lack of leadership, poor training and ineffective systems for identifying when things went wrong. Some other problems was that the patients arriving at A&E department were checked by unqualified receptionist, nurses have no trained to use vital equipment in emergency assessment unit, not enough staff to provide health assistance, not supervision for quality of care, unacceptable waiting time in A&E without assistance and no experienced surgeon for the night shift, patients left crying for help, not food and drinks being left out of reach. Cite by BBC it said that “there were between 400 and 1,200 more deaths than would have been expected between 2005 and 2008, although it is impossible to say all of these patients would have survived if they had received better treatment”.

A case of people who wanting answers include a 79 years old person whom wife 73 years old, died five weeks after she were admitted at Stafford hospital in February 2009. She was suffering from dementia and was taken ill with dehydration and an infection and had to be taken to the hospital’s A&E department. At first checking the medical staff didn’t find anything wrong with her and sent her home, but she came back few days later. The husband complaint was because during her five weeks in hospital the only treatment received was a disgrace, she was left wet, not washed, ignored by the staff members and he decided, unfortunately too late, to move her in to the care home setting.

A similarity of abusing vulnerable adults is the case of Whipps Cross University Hospital in east London hospital, where three healthcare assistants who abused elderly patients have been sentenced. Whipps Cross Univeristy Hospital provides a full range of general inpatient, outpatient and day case services, elderly patients suffering from dementia and recovering from operations, strokes and falls, as well as maternity services and a 24-hour Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre. The hospital has a strong reputation as a centre of excellence for various specialist services, including urology, ENT, audiology, cardiology, colorectal surgery, cancer care and acute stroke care.The abuse happened in spring of last year on the Beech Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London,and came out when one of student nurse LB, blew the whistle after completing a placement on the hospital’s Beech Ward. At NHS control were uncovered a large range of failings at a London hospital including dirty equipment, poor hygiene standards, staff not assisting patients with eating or drinking, not feeding tube were done, not given medication at request and a high mortality rate. Some of the wards had to share equipment which come in conflict with infection control, and this led to sores pressures developed in five patients after admission.

The three healthcare assistants worked on Beech Ward at Whipps Cross employed to carry out basic feeding and washing duties, have been suspended by the hospital and barred from working anywhere in the NHS while an urgent investigation is conducted by police and hospital bosses. They had physically and verbally abuse patients, telling them to shut up, handling them in a non professional manner, grabbing sore or painful areas of patients, pushing them and forcing to sit in chairs, make the patients believed that it was due to their conditions. The care professionals damaged patient trust and not followed the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable at Whipps Cross.”

Outline the vulnerability of these patients, follow the codes of practice, the duty of every member of staff to report such behavior, whistle blowing policy is made clear to all staff on day one of their employment with the Trust, with ongoing statutory and mandatory training to those that providing care professionally.

In order to protect our clients of harm and abuse we had to review the risks factors by monitoring and evaluating how policies, procedures and practices are working in the workshop and receiving feedback. Work with person- centred care value, promoting empowerment, prevention and managing risk but keep a balance between managing risk and enabling independence, choice and control. Recognize and explain the new signs of abuse or potential abuse in vulnerable adults must be the basis of developing outcome measures which can be used by service users and service providers in monitor and evaluate service provision regarding safety and protection generally speaking.


C. Cooper, A. Selwwod & G. Livingson, Oxford Journal, Age Ageing, (2008), The prevalence of elder abuse and neglect: a systematic review, Vol.37, Issue 2, Pp.151-160

E. Salend, R.A. Kane, M. Satz & J. Pynoos, Oxford Journal, The Gerontologist, Elder Abuse Reporting: Limitations of Statutes1, Vol24, Issue 1, Pp61-69

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