Chapter

Abuse in care homes for older people: the case for safeguards

Hilary Brown

in Mental Health and Care Homes

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593637
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754722 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199593637.003.0011
Abuse in care homes for older people: the case for safeguards

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Abusive or neglectful practice of older people can develop insidiously. Most caregivers do not choose to harm others; they intend to do good work but find themselves in situations they are unable to manage. Most abuse results from poor practice within a care home rather than from the deeds of one ‘bad’ individual. Its causes are thus issues such as lack of training and/or leadership, acceptance of embedded poor practice, and lack of appreciation of staff rather than individual pathology. Preventing and responding to abuse require clear standards so that abusive practice can be readily identified and responded to. This chapter advocates that any suspected abuse should be reported to the Safeguarding system and investigated to uphold high standards. The emphasis must be on preventing abuse by improving standards of practice. This requires honest dialogue between managers and care staff about the difficult challenges that can arise in working with older people with complex needs, especially dementia. It is inevitably stressful but with good leadership and training it can be a motivating and positive experience. Safeguarding should be seen as an integral part of good care, not an optional extra or an unnecessary imposition.

Chapter.  8543 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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