Principles of safeguarding and protection in health and social care
Know how to recognise signs of abuse
Physical abuse - This is use of physical force that can result in injury. This could be due to being slapped, punched, kicked, scratched, biting, and strangling.
Sexual abuse – This is unwanted sexual activity that is forced upon a person without their consent, this includes rape, making them watch pornography, pestering them by making sexual suggestions or comments, or they were pressured into consenting.
Emotional/psychological abuse – This is controlling behaviours like shouting and calling the service user names. Could be threats of harm or of being abandoned, being deprived of contact with others, being humiliated, controlled, intimidated, kept in isolation or being withdrawn from supportive networks or services.
Financial abuse – Taking control of money and bank accounts. These include theft, fraud, exploitation, property or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits. Institutional abuse – Institutional abuse comprises of neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, psychological, emotional and financial abuse. Residents are not allowed to go out, private letters opened and read, shown no respect for their privacy. Service users interests are not taken into consideration, they are given more medication than required. Complaints procedure is not made available to the resident.
Self neglect – An adult that fails to take care of their health and is likely to cause serious physical, mental or emotional harm to themselves.
Neglect by others – ignoring medical or physical needs. Fail to provide access to health, social care or educational services, withholding medication, not giving adequate nutrition and heating also clothing etc.
Signs and symptoms associated with each type of abuse
Physical abuse – these include bruising around well protected and covered areas, fractures, burn marks, fear, depression and unexplained weight loss or hair loss, flinching. Sexual abuse – Unexplained change in their behaviour, difficulty in walking, sitting. Injuries to genital area, bloodstained underwear, pregnancy and STD’s.
Emotional/psychological abuse – Withdrawal, depression, change in their sleep patterns. Agitated, feeling confused. Change in their behaviour, change with their appetite, losing or gaining weight. Low self esteem and confidence.
Financial abuse – Unpaid bills. Basic needs not being met, lack of personal possessions and clothes. Lack of money on a day to day basis. Unexlained money being taken from their bank account. Keeping the service user away from their family and friends, so that the support worker has total control.
Institutional abuse – No flexibility at meal times or bedtimes. Dirty bedding and clothing. Lack of care plans, misuse of medication, staff have no regard for the residents privacy they enter into the residents room without knocking.
Self neglect – Poor personal hygiene. Inappropriate clothing, confusion, malnourishment, incorrect medication could be over or under medicating, skin sores.
Neglect by others – Poor personal hygiene including soiled clothing, inappropriate clothing, and the resident could have bed sores, and may be constantly hungry due to lack of food. Suffer from different illnesses.
Factors that may contribute to an individual being more vulnerable to abuse The resident could be suffering from a mental disability such as dementia. The resident could be using illegal drugs or be an alcoholic. They could be isolated, suffering from depression. The resident may be suffering from low self esteem or self worth. All of these can make that person more vulnerable to abuse.
Know how to respond to suspected or alleged abuse
If a service user was showing signs of abuse, changes in their behaviour, marks or bruises on their body I would ask the service user what has happened, and tell them the changes that I have noticed....
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