Vulnerable Adults

Protecting Vulnerable Adults

We should all take responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults in our community. At this practice we actively work to identify and assist our patients who may require help.

What Is A Vulnerable Adult?

The definition is wide, however this may be regarded as anyone over the age of 18 years who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse, harm or exploitation, which may be by reason of illness, age, mental illness, disability or other types of physical or mental impairment.

Those at risk may live alone, be dependent on others (care homes etc.), elderly, or socially isolated.

Forms of Abuse

  • Neglect – ignoring mental or physical needs, care, education, or basic life necessities or rights
  • Bullying – family, carers, friends
  • Financial – theft or use of money or possessions
  • Sexual– assault, rape, non-consensual acts (including acts where unable to give consent), touching, indecent exposure
  • Physical – hitting, assault, man-handling, restraint, pain or forcing medication
  • Psychological – threats, fear, being controlled, taunts, isolation
  • Discrimination– abuse based on perceived differences and vulnerabilities
  • Institutional abuse– in hospitals, care homes, support services or individuals within them, including inappropriate behaviours, discrimination, prejudice, and lack of essential safeguards

Abuse may be deliberate or as a result of lack of attention or thought, and may involve combinations of all or any of the above forms. It may be regular or on an occasional or single event basis, however it will result in some degree of suffering to the individual concerned. Abuse may also take place between one vulnerable adult and another, for example between residents of care homes or other institutions.

Indications of Abuse May Be:

  • Bruising
  • Burns
  • Falls
  • Apparent lack of personal care
  • Nervousness or withdrawn
  • Avoidance of topics of discussion
  • Inadequate living conditions or confinement to one room in their own home
  • Inappropriate controlling by carers or family members
  • Obstacles preventing personal visitors or one-to-one personal discussion
  • Sudden changes in personality
  • Lack of freedom to move outside the home, or to be on their own
  • Refusal by carers to allow the patient into further care or to change environs
  • Lack of access to own money
  • Lack of mobility aids when needed