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Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

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Meadows Dental Carehas a duty in preventing the abuse of vulnerable adults and responding promptly when abuse is suspected or reported.  We ensure that all our patients and staff are treated with courtesy, dignity, fairness and respect at all times.  Our practice considers all incidents of abuse as being unacceptable and especially so when the victim is deemed to be vulnerable.  We will promote a culture and environment in which abuse of any kind is not tolerated and is dealt with promptly when it does occur.

This policy applies equally to every member of employed staff within Meadows Dental Careregardless of occupation status or grade.  Any breach of the policy, including failure to properly report or investigate an allegation of abuse, will be treated as a disciplinary offence.  This practice is committed to pursuing active equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practices, whilst promoting and developing services and resources which are sensitive to age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and sexuality.  This Practice is committed to ensuring that workers at all levels have the knowledge and ability to contribute effectively to the protection of vulnerable adults.

Meadows Dental Care safeguarding lead is the Practice Manager Jennifer Hopper

This Policy was reviewed and implemented on: 19/06/2017

This policy and relevant procedures will be reviewed annually and are due for review on: 19/06/2018or prior to this date in accordance with new guidance or legislative changes.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Procedures

Definition of a vulnerable adult

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves, or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.  This may be because they have a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, are old and frail, or have some form of illness. The Care Act 2014 contains mandatory requirements around adult safeguarding.

Understanding abuse

An awareness of adult abuse is the key to protecting vulnerable adults from abuse.  Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person’s human and civil rights.  The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person’s quality of life, to causing actual physical suffering.

The Department of Health “recognises that abuse may not just be physical, sexual or an obvious act of cruelty.  There are many types of abuse including mental, emotional, financial and discriminatory abuse.  There is no hierarchy among these types of abuse.  Depending on the circumstances, pernicious racist abuse can have as profound an effect as, for example, physical abuse on a vulnerable adult.  Bullying or daily humiliations, perhaps presented as jokes by the perpetrators, can be as harmful as single acts of cruelty.  Similarly unintended abuse or neglect can have the same impact as deliberate”. (Stephen Ladyman, 2004)

Forms of abuse can be categorised as follows:

  • Physical abuse (including inappropriate restraint or use of medication)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • financial or material abuse
  • Neglect and acts of omission
  • Institutional abuse
  • Discriminatory abuse

Possible indicators of abuse and what may make you concerned

Possible Indicators of Physical Abuse

  • Multiple bruising
  • Fractures
  • Burns
  • Bed sores
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Assault (can be intentional or reckless)

Possible Indicators of Neglect

  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Bed sores
  • Confusion
  • Over-sedation
  • Deprivation of meals may constitute “wilful neglect”

Possible Indicators of Emotional Abuse

  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
  • Deprivation of liberty could be false imprisonment. Aggressive shouting causing fear of violence in a public place may be an offence against Public Order Act 1986, or harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Possible Indicators of Sexual Abuse

  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
  • Bruising
  • Soreness around the genitals
  • Torn, stained or bloody underwear
  • A preoccupation with anything sexual
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Rape
  • Indecent Assault

Possible Indicators of Financial Abuse

  • Unexplained withdrawals from the bank
  • Unusual activity in the bank accounts
  • Unpaid bills
  • Unexplained shortage of money
  • Reluctance on the part of the person with responsibility for the funds to provide basic food and clothes etc.
  • Fraud
  • Theft

Possible Indicators of Institutional Abuse

  • Inflexible and non-negotiable systems and routines
  • Lack of consideration of dietary requirements
  • Name calling; inappropriate ways of addressing people
  • Lack of adequate physical care – an unkempt appearance

Incidents of abuse may be multiple, either to one person in a continuing relationship or service context, or to more than one person at a time.

Any or all types of abuse may be perpetrated as the result of deliberate intent and targeting of vulnerable people, negligence or ignorance.

Abuse may take many forms and may include criminal activity.
It may involve any combination of the above.

Staff responsibilities in respect of abuse

All allegations of abuse must be regarded as serious, reported appropriately and investigated immediately to serve the interest of individual service users and always act in such a way as to promote and safeguard their well-being, guided by codes of professional conduct where appropriate.  Being alert to possible abuse and informing line management of actual abuse is the responsibility of all staff.

Team members have the right to form their own judgment and to challenge other opinions, including medical statements, where they believe this is in the adult’s interest.  Where a team member’s concerns appear not to be taken seriously, it is appropriate to take them to a more senior person at the practice.  Team members who take this action will be supported regardless of the outcome providing the allegation has been made in good faith.

Meadows Dental Care responsibilities

In order to fulfil its obligations in respect of the protection of vulnerable adults Meadows  Dental Carewill ensure that:

  • Our commitment to the  provision of high quality care and the continuous raising of standards of care will continue through clinical governance and adherence to National Service Frameworks and other national policies initiatives
  • Our employees will feel enabled and empowered to identify, report and act on abuse by promoting leadership skills and individual development
  • The Practice Manager Jennifer Hopperis a named individual within the practice with responsibility for the protection of vulnerable adults, who will promote awareness within the practice, work closely with and support staff in the protection of vulnerable adults from abuse
  • All new employees receive vulnerable adult protection awareness as part of their induction training.
  • Where appropriate, staff have the opportunity to access additional training in respect of the awareness of and protection from abuse of vulnerable adults
  • There is commitment by our practice to train and support the team which will facilitate the development of competencies in the awareness and prevention of vulnerable adult abuse
  • Patients who are vulnerable adults will be enabled, empowered and encouraged to complain if they are being abused

It should be stressed that our dental teams are not responsible for making a diagnosis of abuse or neglect, just for sharing concerns appropriately.

If we are concerned or recognise abuse or someone tells us they are being abused, we won’t promise to keep it a secret. We will share our concerns with someone who can help you (and the person you're worried about). The contact numbers to share our concerns are listed below and we are assured they take our concerns seriously. Also if we feel our patients need support then we will urge them to contact the relevant services below

What do I do if I have a concern, suspicion or allegation that an adult is being harmed or exploited?

In emergency situations seek appropriate medical attention and contact the Police Dial 999, as would be done with anyone in that situation. The protection of the vulnerable adult from harm is the first priority.

To make a safeguarding referral about and adult at risk, or for advice about an adult who may be being abused, contact the Local Safeguarding Adults Board advice and information team at the earliest opportunity

During Working Hours Contact:

Advice and information team – tel 01733 747474
Outside of working hours call the Emergency Duty Team – tel 01733234724
Contact details will be on the local safeguarding adult board
http://www.safeguardingpeterborough.org.uk/adults-board

Meadows Dental Carewill endeavor to safeguard vulnerable adults by:

  • • Adopting vulnerable adults guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for the dental team.
  • • Making staff and patients aware that we take safeguarding vulnerable adults seriously and respond to concerns about the welfare of vulnerable adults.
  • • Adopting a multiagency approach to sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know and involving the vulnerable adult and carers appropriately.
  • • Following carefully the procedures for staff recruitment and selection set out in our Recruitment Policy.
  • • Ensure that the appropriate Disclosure and Barring Services Checks (DBS) checks are conducted (formerly CRB checks).
  • • Providing effective management for staff by ensuring access to supervision, support and training.

The named individual for safeguarding vulnerable adults should be someone who:

  • Is a good listener
  • Has respect for confidential information
  • Is able to handle difficult or distressing issues sensitively
  • Thinks before taking action

The role of the named individual might include the following duties

  • Keeping an up-to-date list of local contacts for safeguarding vulnerable adults advice and referral
  • Making information readily available for staff
  • Ensuring the local safeguarding vulnerable adults board procedures are available and are kept up-to-date
  • Organise staff training
  • Auditing the practice
  • Keeping details of local sources of confidential emotional support for staff

Referrals remain the responsibility of the person who recognises the suspected abuse or neglect

We follow good practice guidelines and are committed to reviewing our policies at regular intervals.

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