COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding adults

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Experiences of adult social work addressing self-neglect during the Covid-19 pandemic

Journal of Social Work

Summary: Internationally there has been much interest in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the care and support of older people including those with needs arising from self-neglect and/or hoarding. During the pandemic English local authorities' legal duties remained to respond to concerns about harm about people with care and support needs living in the community. This paper reports interviews with 44 participants working for adult safeguarding/adult protective services (APS) in 31 local authorities recruited from all English regions. Interviews took place online in November-December 2020 as the pandemic's second UK wave was emerging. Analytic induction methods were used to develop themes. Findings: Participants reported some of the variations in referrals to their services with more contact being received from community sources concerned about their neighbours' welfare. Participants provided accounts of the local organisation of adult safeguarding services during the pandemic, including in some areas the potential for offering early help to older people at risk of harm from self-neglect or hoarding behaviour. Online inter-agency meetings were positively received but were acknowledged to potentially exclude some older people. Applications: This article reports observations from adult safeguarding practitioners about their services which may be of interest internationally and in renewing services that can sustain public interest in the welfare of their older citizens and in developing early help. The findings reflect those from children's services where online meetings are also predicted to enhance professional communications post-pandemic but similarly need to ensure effective engagement with service users and their families.

Last updated on hub: 22 April 2022

Invisible and at-risk: older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect

During the COVID-19 pandemic the risks to older adults of systemic abuse and neglect have become amplified, alongside increasing abuse and neglect in the community. Novel risks have also evolved involving cybercrime and the use of remote technologies in health and social care related to the pandemic. This commentary brings together lessons to be learned from these developments and initial ideas for actions to mitigate future risks.

Last updated on hub: 11 March 2022

COVID-19 adult safeguarding insight project - third report (December 2021)

Local Government Association

The Insight Project was developed to create a national picture regarding safeguarding adults’ activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. This third and final report, summarises changes and patterns in adult safeguarding activity from January 2019 to June 2021. This report is based on activity data and information from 106 councils and qualitative insight from fifty councils, in England. The general picture is that safeguarding concerns continue to show a long-term upward trend, tending to decrease during periods of lockdown and other COVID-19 restrictions followed by a sharp increase once those restrictions are lifted. Section 42 safeguarding enquiries did not show the same upward trend shown by concerns, though they did fall and rise in line with changes in the volume of concerns. Prevalence of different types of abuse has not changed considerably during the pandemic, although there is some limited evidence in the data that psychological abuse, domestic abuse and self-neglect have risen during this time. However, councils have reported increased complexity and risks in abuse types and additional layers of complexity for safeguarding practice.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2021

Invisible and at-risk: older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect

During the COVID-19 pandemic the risks to older adults of systemic abuse and neglect have become amplified, alongside increasing abuse and neglect in the community. Novel risks have also evolved involving cybercrime and the use of remote technologies in health and social care related to the pandemic. This commentary brings together lessons to be learned from these developments and initial ideas for actions to mitigate future risks.

Last updated on hub: 17 December 2021

Positive risk taking: debating the research agenda in the context of adult protection and COVID

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present the case for examining the concept of positive risk taking (PRT) in the context of adult protection. The paper argues there is a need for empirical research to understand the application of and attitudes to PRT to explore whether the concept has moved beyond a principle to make an identifiable difference to service users. Design/methodology/approach: By investigating evidence from policy, literature and professional opinion, this paper presents the ethical tensions for professional practice in adult protection between respecting a service user’s freedom to make choices to enhance their independence while preserving safety for service users and society. This is considered in the context of risk in health and social care and the recent changes in society resulting from COVID-19. Findings: Inherent tensions are apparent in the evidence in health and social care between attitudes propounding safety first and those arguing for the benefits of risk taking. This indicates not only a need for a paradigm shift in attitudes but also a research agenda that promotes empirical studies of the implications of PRT from service user and professional perspectives. Originality/value: This paper draws attention to the relatively limited research into both professionals’ and service user’s perspectives and experiences of PRT in practice.

Last updated on hub: 18 November 2021

Responding to the challenges of COVID-19: guidance for domestic abuse and safeguarding practitioners working with domestic abuse perpetrators

Respect

This guidance is intended as an aid for professionals/practitioners who are working with those who are abusive and/or violent within intimate and familial relationships, in the light of the challenges created by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Respect Service Standard for organisation working with those who perpetrate domestic abuse is underpinned by a set of principles. These remain of critical importance in responding to domestic abuse during this period and include: safety first – keeping survivors and children central to the intervention is essential in the context of service delivery; do no harm – individual organisations will need to establish the viability of continuing with in-person service delivery; the system matters – it is crucial that services know who is still operating, the level of service available and the referral pathways; support for staff – supervision of, and support for, delivery practitioners, both professionally and emotionally, will need to be maintained and the accumulative effect of almost a year of restriction on social contact recognised; direct support work with service users during the Covid-19 pandemic – whilst some service users may engage well through remote, digital interaction, this may not be every client’s preferred means of communication and risks needs to be considered; online / remote delivery with service users during the Covid-19 pandemic – where remote work is preferred or is considered suitable based on the local area challenges it is important to recognise that this may not be appropriate for all clients.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2021

COVID-19 Adult Safeguarding Insight Project: January 2019 to December 2020: findings and discussion: 2nd report

Local Government Association

The Insight Project was developed to create a national picture regarding safeguarding adults’ activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first report provided a picture of how safeguarding adults activity in England was affected by the initial stage of the pandemic and first lockdown, up until June 2020. This second report provides information on safeguarding adults activity up to December 2020. The general picture in England shows a sharp decline in the rate of safeguarding concerns in March and April 2020, only to increase steeply in May, June and July 2020, where it remained at a high level before decreasing during December 2020, following the second lockdown. Rates of safeguarding concerns were overall higher than in the previous year. The trend of Section 42 safeguarding enquiries showed a similar pattern, with a steady decrease in rates from January to April 2020 before increasing again to almost exactly the pre-pandemic level, then falling off and decreasing sharply by December 2020. The percentage distribution of types of abuse and neglect in safeguarding enquiries remained relatively constant throughout 2019 and 2020, but with moderate increases in, domestic abuse, self-neglect and psychological abuse in 2020 compared with 2019.

Last updated on hub: 23 June 2021

COVID-19: a shock to the system – reflections from practice by safeguarding adults board managers

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This paper aims to set out to share the reflections of safeguarding adult board managers as they worked through what is likely to be just the first wave of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on the experience of small number of safeguarding adult board managers who have provided reflections from practice. Findings: This paper illustrates just some of the responses developed by safeguarding adult board managers and their boards to continue to deliver the work of safeguarding those at risk of abuse and harm in the face of unprecedented impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on a key aspect of the safeguarding adult system in England. Originality/value: The reflections reported here are not intended to offer a representative commentary on the experiences of those who oversee and manage safeguarding adults’ boards. It is intention to provide a flavour of some of the challenges and dilemmas faced and some of the creative solutions to address them used by one group of adult safeguarding practitioners.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2021

The crisis of Neoliberal project of aging during the COVID-19 pandemic: from compulsory activity to mandatory isolation

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This paper aims to consider how the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic questions the neoliberal project of ageing, based on a notion of a healthy, active, working older person. A long-term struggle to include older people has been (temporarily) replaced with a struggle to exclude them. This seems to be one of the most sensitive sore spots of the coronavirus crisis and one of the most serious challenges to social policy and welfare systems the world over. The purpose of this paper is to consider where the concepts of ageing and the action on ageing were at right before the crisis and what their further development may look like. Design/methodology/approach: This paper provides a critical overview of main conceptions based on the neoliberal project of ageing. Findings: The main principle of the neoliberal project of ageing, which had been formed on the crossroad of social theory and policy through decades, became vulnerable in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. The new forced ageing reveals its repressive nature through ensuring seniors’ safety from exposure, their removal from work and isolation. The theory now faces new challenges of meshing a neoliberal actor – active, independent and productive – with an older person in isolation, who needs safeguarding, of re-conceptualizing social exclusion of seniors in a situation where exclusion is equated with safety, of resolving a dilemma between isolation and respect of human rights and of keeping progress in anti-ageism. Research limitations/implications: This paper presents an overview of the main conceptions, underlying the neoliberal project of ageing. It aims to designate the vulnerabilities of the project, which were revealed under the situation of pandemic. Further development of the discussion needs detailed analysis of theoretical conceptions of ageing. Practical implications: Theoretical debate reflects policy of ageing. Discussion of theoretical problems of ageism, social exclusion, safeguarding of the elderly and compulsion are necessary for improvement of social policy of ageing. Social implications: When the neoliberal project of ageing comes into collision with the reality with the reality, the authors recognize it as a crisis. It moves the society, and especially the elderly, to the situation of uncertainty. This paper calls for discussion and search for a new balance among the generations in a society. Originality/value: This paper relies upon the current debate on neoliberal project of ageing and responds immediately to the situation of pandemic. Now conceptual problems in theories of ageing and policy projects became visible, and the authors suppose it is time to initiate this discussion.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2021

Scared, angry, discriminatory, out of my control: DNAR decision-making in 2020

The British Institute of Human Rights

Findings from a study to gather information from people who have experienced Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) decision making, both since and prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. The report shows a worrying picture around the rights of involvement in care and treatment decisions, including DNARs. The evidence depicts serious issues of discrimination related to disability and age, and the intersection between the two, as well as other factors. Coronavirus has shone a spotlight on this, and some reported an increase in worrying DNAR decisions; but none of this is new, these problems are ongoing. The report’s key findings are: 100% of people involved said there needs to be more easily accessible information about human rights; almost 60% of people involved said they had received no information about their right to life during Coronavirus; 65% of people involved said that they (or a person they care for/about) had a DNAR order put on your medical file. 21% said they didn’t know; of those who had seen a DNAR order put in place almost half (47%) were not related to end-of-life care; less than a third of people (29%) who were involved in DNAR decision-making felt fully listened to, most felt listened to a bit (46%), and 25% felt not listened to; 91% of people involved felt that discrimination was an issue in the DNAR decisions they’d experienced.

Last updated on hub: 03 March 2021

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