A lot of the day to day responsibilities of Care Workers are reactive; relating to specific duties and situations that arise that day. Care Staff are often stretched in terms of personnel and despite the vast amounts of effort that go into each day - it can make planning for the future difficult. Safeguarding and adults in the Care Home is often one of the duties which does sometimes get overlooked in favour of more immediate risks however it’s a responsibility of supreme importance and one which should always be front of mind. Our latest blog looks to give detailed advice on how Care Staff can spot adults in need of extra help and how to proceed when there are potential signs of abuse.

5 Signs Of Potential Abuse In The Care Home

Safeguarding adults in care isn't a straightforward procedure, one of the primary difficulties is identifying which care receivers need additional support and whether there has been an signs of abuse. Spotting these tell-tale signs can make it easier to have a conversation with the person in question and can help them open up about what has been happening. Signs to look out for include:

A Resident Doesn’t Want To Be Left By Themselves – sudden changes in behaviour are sometimes indicators that something is amiss and if a usually content resident shows concern at being left alone this could be a potential sign of abuse. This could also be relevant if the resident shows signs of distress or anguish about being left alone with a specific person or group of people.

Residents Becoming Increasingly Quiet & Withdrawn – when residents become increasingly withdrawn and seem not to value their relationships with friends and staff, it could be a sign of compromised trust. If residents behaviour seems highly out of character then it could be a sign that the person has been subject to some form of abuse or mis-managed behaviour.

identifying vulnerable adults

Evidence Of Physical Injury – repeat physical injuries could be an indicator that someone does need safeguarding support. If the same injury happens more than once or if the resident shows strong reluctance to discuss how the injury occurred, then this could be worth further exploration. It could also be worth speaking to other residents or staff to see if they know how the injury occurred.

Sudden Changes To Finances – a non-physical form of abusive could be that a resident has been duped or pressured into giving away a portion of their finances. Signs of this include not having as much money to pay for social activities & outings or not being able to afford basic groceries because of debt. You should also watch out for official financial documents which seem unnecessary or for when documents go missing. In this case, looking after vulnerable adults is not always easy as the resident may not even be aware that they are being taken advantage of.

An Aggressive & Combative Mood – just like in any other setting people often get upset and defensive when they believe something is not right or they are scared. Keep an eye out for residents who are showing signs of aggression when there is no logical motive present. If this persists, it’s worth having a friendly conversation to see if you can understand what is causing the residents mood and if nothing obvious presents itself it could be something external.

What To Do Next?

If you believe there could be a significant problem with a resident who is showing signs of vulnerability – the first step is always to talk to that person. Find some privacy and mention your concerns to that person and let them talk in their own words. It’s important not to pressure the person but some gentle encouragement can be useful at the beginning of the conversation. Each situation will require a unique response but it’s never okay to let abuse knowingly carry on. The situation should be privately shared with dependable colleagues who can help the situation and the root cause of any abuse should be addressed. For additional advice on how to stop abuse, you can also call the Action On Elder Abuse helpline for free on 0808 808 8141.

BVS Training also have specific video courses for any Care Staff or team members who may benefit from professional training materials relating to Safeguarding Adults or Tackling Abuse