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What Is Safeguarding In A Care Home?

Fonthill House, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Safeguarding in a care home is essential, and legislation and policies are in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your elderly loved ones. However, it can be a worrying time when a loved one needs to take the next step into a care home, so we’ve put together a guide on what safeguarding means and how it is followed in care homes. 

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the protection of people’s wellbeing, health and human rights. Safeguarding allows people to live without neglect, harm or abuse. Organisations are responsible for ensuring people in their care are kept safe and protected. There are protocols in place if safeguarding requirements have not been met to ensure that people are protected at all times. 

What does safeguarding mean in a care home?

Safeguarding in a care home means keeping the residents safe, cared for and out of harm’s way. Staff working in a care home must protect their residents’ rights. Safeguarding for elderly patients focuses on independence and choice, which many people feel they have less of as they get older. All care home providers must ensure that their resident’s rights, health and wellbeing are protected. 

There is legislation in the UK to ensure that care homes follow certain rules to ensure their patients are cared for correctly and not put in harm’s way.

Examples of safeguarding issues in a care home

  • Maladministration of medication is when medication is mismanaged intentionally, such as giving sedatives to manage behaviour.
  • Pressure sores are not always a result of neglect but can be avoided with correct management. 
  • Rough treatment such as pushing or being shouted at or ignored 
  • Poor nutritional care can happen in care homes. Food can be the highlight of the day for some care home residents, so it’s important that it’s handled correctly.
  • Lack of social integration can lead to mental health issues and affect general wellbeing.
  • Financial abuse is a serious safeguarding issue, including theft, fraud or exploitation.

What policies do care homes follow?

Safety is a Care Quality Commission (CQC) fundamental standard that all care homes must follow – you must not provide unsafe care or treatment or put people at avoidable risk of harm. Care homes must safeguard from abuse, improper treatment and neglect. 

All care home managers and staff should be trained in their responsibilities for reporting and recording their concerns about neglect and abuse. In addition, there must be a whistleblowing policy in all care homes to protect staff from speaking up about the mistreatment of patients. 

The Care Act 2014 defines a framework for safeguarding adults, and all care homes must have procedures and policies that reflect the statutory guidance in the Care Act. Understanding and following these procedures is a skill required by care assistants.

What are the 6 safeguarding principles?

There a 6 safeguarding principles that are embedded in the Care Act 2014. 

  1. Empowerment: people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions with informed consent.
  2. Prevention: taking action before harm occurs.
  3. Proportionality: the least intrusive response to the risk presented.
  4. Protection: support for those greatest in need.
  5. Partnership: communities can play a part in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
  6. Accountability: accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice and process. 

Safeguarding is incredibly important in care homes. Vulnerable adults need protection, and care homes need to have certain policies and processes that reflect statutory guidance. In addition, care homes have a duty of care to their residents and prioritise the health and wellbeing of their patients. 

care home resident and care staff

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