Safeguarding in Health and Social Care
Under the Health and Social Care Act (2008), abuse is defined as:
“Single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress including physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, racial abuse, neglect and abuse through misapplication of drugs.”
Abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. However, it is so alarming that more and more elderly people suffer from abuse everyday. Many elderly adults are being abused in their homes and even in care facilities such as nursing homes responsible for their care. How can elderly groups be vulnerable to abuse and/or harm to self and others? And how do nursing homes which are supposed to deliver utmost care and support become one of the major contributing factors of abuse?
1.1As people gets old, many physical changes takes place on the process. They become weaker and fragile, thus unable to stand up and fight back if bullying occurs. Their eyesight and hearing become less sensitive, thus, they are prone to more wicked people taking advantage of them. Physical and mental disorders that elderly people may have may be the factor of abuse in the home or at the residential home. This could also lead to any forms of abuse. People with dementia, for example are very much susceptible to abuse because of the conditions (loss of memory, mood changes and communication difficulties) that they suffer (The RCN Learning Zone, 2011). People around them such as care providers who are aware of their condition can take advantage of that because they think that the service user is powerless or have no knowledge of the medical consequence and might not be able to defend themselves when they are being abused or might not be able to identify the type and kind of abuse. This could also be related to “Power” and or “authority” which affects the existence of abuse between the care provider and the service user. Whoever has the power can become the abuser and the the other party who can not defend them selves tends to be the abused. Due to the conditions of the age of the service user, they are classified as vulnerable and may need help and assistance from other people especially their carers or family members to support them to maintain their independence or promote well being. This in effect tends to be seen as burdensome to the carer or family member and is is then formed in the minds of these elderly people that they are weak and powerless and therefore should be submissive to carers in order to gain assistance from them. If carers, on the other hand, perceive this weakness from their clients and that they have the power over them, then, they can use that power to abuse them. In this essay, the author will use false names of people and establishments to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all concerned. Terms such as resident, client, patient and service user will be used interchangeably.
In the nursing home where I work, we have one resident called Mrs. M, who is bed ridden for many years now. She can only utter certain words such as Bryan (son's name), Yes or No and some swear words. She has dementia, speech impairment and mobility issues. This service user can not speak out or stand up to defend herself. She needs turning every two hours to prevent bedsore. She needs assistance in feeding and it is very hard to do it because she always chews cloths from either the sleeves of her clothes or the bed sheets and even her arms. Referring to Valuing People White Paper (for England) which states that people with learning disabilities and/or mental health problem have the right, choice, independence and inclusion for opportunities to lead a full and active life (Fyson, 2005). This service user's needs are still within the context definition and aim and therefore have the right to be treated fairly. Carers must not be put off by her...
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