The issue of self-neglect and encouraging people to spot the signs of someone not caring for themselves is the focus of a local campaign during this year’s Stop Adult Abuse Week.
Stop Adult Abuse Week, which runs from 10th-14th June, is a joint initiative between five Local Safeguarding Adult Boards (LSAB’s) across the region to focus attention and raise awareness of safeguarding issues. The theme for 2019 is Mental Capacity and Safeguarding
The campaign across Bath and North East Somerset will focus on mental capacity and self-neglect.
Self-neglect refers to a lack of self-care to the extent it can threaten an individual’s personal health and safety.
It covers a wide range of behaviours where a person neglects to attend to their basic care and support needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding or tending appropriately to any medical conditions they may have.
Val Janson, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and interim Chair of the local board, said: “Safeguarding is everyone’s business and professionals are ready and willing to work alongside family, friends and neighbours to try to help those who may not be able to help themselves.
“We are highlighting the issue of self-neglect which is by its nature is challenging so one of the aims of the campaign is to raise awareness and encourage people to spot the signs of self-neglect.”
In the past year, three Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SAR) on self-neglect have been carried out in Bath and North East Somerset and in two of these they involved the deaths of two residents.
All three reports, two of which have been published by the LSAB, found some of the practice and systems in place at the time were not of the quality expected for adults in Bath and North East Somerset.
An action plan was drawn up and changes made as a direct result of the reports’ recommendations, with Self-Neglect Policies and Best Practice Guidance revised and improved and training programmes offered by the LSAB.
However, the LSAB also needs the public’s help in alerting social care, health or housing staff when someone is clearly not caring for themselves properly or has not been seen for some time.
One of the aims of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness of the signs of self-neglect:
- Very poor personal hygiene;
- Unkempt appearance;
- Lack of essential food, clothing or shelter;
- Malnutrition and/or dehydration;
- Living in squalid or unsanitary conditions;
- Neglecting household maintenance;
- Collecting a large number of animals in inappropriate conditions;
- Non-compliance with health or care services;
- Inability or unwillingness to take medication or treat illness or injury.
Anyone worried that someone maybe neglecting themselves can call the Virgin Care Adult Social Care Team on 0300 247 0201 Monday to Friday 9-5pm, or 01454 615165 ? Emergency Duty Team (EDT) for out of hours/Weekend calls to talk through their concerns.
Something may just not feel quite right, or could seem a bit out of the ordinary. It is not necessary to know the full picture but information provided can help to build it.