Care Certificate

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Vulnerable adults and the risk of harm

Video 112 of 250
2 min 26 sec
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Protecting Vulnerable Adults in Health and Social Care

Defining a Vulnerable Adult

A vulnerable adult is someone in need of care, support, or assistance and is incapable of fully safeguarding themselves. Those accessing health and social care services can become vulnerable due to specific care requirements or support needs.

Power Dynamics and Potential for Abuse

When there is a power imbalance, the more powerful individual has the choice to either foster the weaker individual's independence or misuse this power. Such misuse can manifest as denying basic dignity and respect, inflicting physical or emotional distress, or in extreme cases, causing death. Abuse can be intentional, a result of negligence, or stem from ignorance about the right course of action.

Settings and Circumstances Amplifying Vulnerability

Private Homes

In personal living spaces, abusers often find it simpler to hide their actions.

Institutional Settings

Places with subpar standards or those that prioritise schedules over individuals can see a rise in institutional abuse. In environments where staff feel neglected by superiors, inappropriate behaviours can become commonplace. This often deters others from intervening due to intimidation or a misguided belief that such behaviours are widely accepted.

Challenging Work Environments

Workplaces dealing with individuals exhibiting complex or hard-to-manage behaviours can be grounds for abuse, especially when staff aren't sufficiently trained or supported.

Individual Vulnerabilities

Conditions such as sensory impairments, mental health challenges, dementia, or learning disabilities can increase one's vulnerability. Often, their responses are wrongly seen as manifestations of their conditions rather than expressions of their experiences.

Empowering Caregivers and Protecting the Vulnerable

It's imperative to shield vulnerable adults from potential harm in every scenario. Regular and updated training should be offered to enable workers to identify and suitably react to abuse signs. By fostering a culture rooted in awareness, comprehension, and responsibility, we can collectively shield vulnerable adults and ensure their welfare.