COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding adults

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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

Frustrated, angry and unfair: staff experiences of DNAR decision-making in 2020

The British Institute of Human Rights

This report provides findings and recommendations from research with staff working across health, care and social work, who have shared their experiences of Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) decisions. The findings show a worrying picture around the people’s rights to involvement in care and treatment decisions, including DNARs, and in staff confidence and ability to ensure human rights considerations are part of everyday decision-making. Of the people who attended the research workshop and completed a survey: 97% said there needs to be more easily accessible information about human rights; whilst 78% felt supported to meet the legal duty to uphold human rights in their day-to-day work, only 46% said they felt supported to uphold human rights in their day-to-day work during Covid-19; only 8% said people’s right to involvement in care and treatment decisions is explicitly discussed with them, an only 25% felt supported to involve people in DNAR decisions; over 40% of participants said it is assumed that people who have had a DNAR order placed on their file do not have mental capacity (only 26% said capacity assessments (a legal requirement) had been conducted); almost 30% of participants felt DNAR decisions during Covid-19 are worse (14% said they had not changed but were usually poor). 20% had made more challenges to DNAR decisions during Covid-19; only 16% felt fully listened to; more than 50% of participants felt that discrimination at least sometimes happening in DNAR decisions. The recommendations set out in this report focus on both the current Covid-19 context and the wider use of DNAR orders in “ordinary” times, and the need for them to be framed exactly as they are, as human rights issues.

Last updated on hub: 03 March 2021

COVID-19 and safeguarding adults: resource pack

Local Government Association

These resources were collected between March and December 2020 to support safeguarding work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information was compiled initially through a ‘safeguarding issues grid’, in response to issues raised by Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) Chairs, SAB Managers, Principal Social Workers and others regarding safeguarding adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include: care provision; clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19; closed environments; day centres; domestic abuse; digital communications; digital safety; home care; informal carers; institutional care; mental capacity; multi-agency working; people at higher risk from coronavirus; scamming; self-isolation and treatment of coronavirus; social distancing; social workers; testing; vaccinations; volunteers; whistleblowing; community engagement; safeguarding adults board duties; safeguarding adult reviews; and using data on safeguarding activity.

Last updated on hub: 08 February 2021

COVID-19 Adult Safeguarding Insight Project: findings and discussion

Local Government Association

Findings of a project aimed at creating a national picture about safeguarding adults’ activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on the analysis of data submitted on a voluntary basis by local authorities; in all, 92 councils participated in the insight project – over 60 per cent of single tier and county councils in England. In general, safeguarding concerns dropped markedly during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period, only to return to and then exceed normal levels in June 2020. The trend of Section 42 enquiries showed a similar decline during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period and upturn in June, although the June upturn was not as great. The effects of COVID-19 and lockdown on safeguarding activity are localised and may vary across England as the pandemic impacted the country unevenly. The percentage distribution of types of abuse within Section 42 enquiries did not appear to change considerably overall, although there is some evidence that some forms of abuse, particularly domestic abuse, increased slightly overall and significantly within some councils, as well as psychological abuse and self-neglect. The percentage of Section 42 enquiries where the risk is located in the individual’s own home has increased markedly since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period, with evidence from participants that this is a direct result of the confinement of people in their homes. During the lockdown period, while dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, some councils developed innovations in their practices and systems. Examples provided by participating councils in the qualitative data, are described in this report.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Mid-year 2020-21 adult social care activity

NHS Digital

Local Authorities are part of the front line of organisations dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in England. This management information is not looking directly at the response to the crisis. Instead, it aims to give users some insight into the impact of the pandemic on the ongoing statutory duties of local authorities to provide assessments, support and funding for the appropriate level of social care needed by its adult population, and to safeguard its citizens from abuse or deprivations of liberty. Data was collected from local authorities on a voluntary basis, to a shorter timeline than usual and without much of the comprehensive data quality assurance usually in place for the equivalent annual data collections. Key facts include: coverage – 81% of local authorities in England provided data to this one-off, voluntary data collection; long term support – the number of clients in receipt of long term social care support at the end of March 2020 was lower than the previous year, and this decreased further in the first half of 2020-21; safeguarding activity – there appears to have been a slight increase of approximately 4% in the total number of safeguarding concerns raised to local authorities so far this year, compared to half the annual total from 2019-20, and a c.9% decrease in the enquiries that commenced in the period; DoLS applications – fewer applications for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) were received by local authorities in the first half of 2020-21 (a decrease of 3.3% compared to the first half of 2019-20, following many years of increasing volumes). The number of applications completed also fell, by 16.5%, compared to the first half of 2019-20.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020

Safeguarding adults practice and remote working in the COVID-19 era: challenges and opportunities

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This exploratory paper aims to examine the literature on the impact of COVID-19 on safeguarding adults practice. Design/methodology/approach: A literature search was carried out in recently published articles to locate literature relating to COVID-19 and safeguarding adults in the UK and internationally. This included policy guidance and law, to describe the existing knowledge base, gaps in practice and areas that may require further research. Findings: The findings suggest that measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to remote working and virtual safeguarding practice. The findings highlight the need for empirical research into the impact of virtual safeguarding adults assessments and effective ways to support the needs and outcomes of those who may be at risk of or experiencing abuse and neglect while shielding, socially isolating or when working in an environment where social distancing is required. Research limitations/implications: The paper is based on a review and analysis of published documents and not on other types of research. Originality/value: Little is known about effective safeguarding adults practice in the era of shielding, self-isolation, social distancing and remote working. The paper adds to the body of knowledge in the field.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Safeguarding adults and COVID-19: a sector-led improvement response

Journal of Adult Protection

Purpose: This study aims to describe the sector-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown in terms of safeguarding adults. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a case study method to examine a sector-led improvement response to COVID-19 and safeguarding adults. Findings: The study describes how safeguarding issues and concerns were identified and brought together, and then responded to. It reviews this initiative in the context of crisis intervention theory and discusses the achievements of this initiative regarding COVID-19 and safeguarding adults during the period April–July 2020. Originality/value: The study describes a unique joint initiative between the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which worked with the Networks of Chairs of Safeguarding Adults Boards, Safeguarding Adults Boards’ managers and Principal Social Workers. This initiative developed resources and shared information and good practice to support a response in unprecedented circumstances.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

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