Abuse of the vulnerable

Story: Graham Jones

There have recently been two major cases of abuse in nursing homes in our neighbourhood, which have gone to court. Sadly, abuse is more common than you might think.

According to Elder Abuse Action, over 500,000 older people are abused annually in the UK. Abuse occurs across a whole range of domestic, workplace and care settings.

We have quite a few nursing homes in our neighbourhood and one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Many readers work in these settings or have vulnerable family members or neighbours.

The majority of care homes and their staff provide an excellent service and there is an unsung army of kind and committed people whose good work, often poorly paid or unpaid, is vital to the wellbeing of those who need help. Caring for people is very rewarding but it can also be demanding, frustrating and hard work.

Types of abuse

Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, financial or sexual. Abuse can occur in any relationship. It could be:

  • physical abuse, including hitting,slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication or restraint;

  • sexual abuse;

  • psychological abuse, including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, loss of contact,humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment,verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks;

  • financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation or the misuse of property, possessions or benefits;

  • neglect, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life,such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating;

  • discriminatory abuse, including racist,sexist, based on a person's disability. Abusers can be family members, partners,friends, neighbours, people who work or volunteer in health or social care services,or strangers.

Abuse can be deliberate or it might be the result of a lack of training, knowledge or understanding.

Reporting abuse

You may be worried about something happening to you or someone else. Maybe someone is shouting or being nasty or hurting you. Maybe someone is taking control of your money.

The best way to report abuse is to ring Social Services on 0114 273 4908, which is available at all hours of the day.

If you are worried about how well somebody is being looked after in hospital or a care home, you could also contact the Care Quality Commission on 03000 616161.

Abuse thrives in a climate of fear and secrecy; we all have a responsibility to look after those that need help and protection.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2014-05-30 21:01:07.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2014-06-02 11:21:26.

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