Commissioning care homes: common safeguarding challenges

SCIE Guide 46

Published: February 2012

Care homes: safeguarding challenges

This guide aims to identify the issues that commonly lead to safeguarding referrals from care homes. The underlying causes are also identified; neither are in order of prevalence. Prevention checklists are provided to help both commissioners and providers to work towards a reduction in occurrence of these issues. There are additional links to resources.

The evidence underpinning this work was gathered from people using services, carers, commissioners, service providers, safeguarding leads and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It shows clearly that most safeguarding activity relating to care homes occurs as a result of poor practice and poor quality of service rather than malicious intent. The impact of poor practice and neglect can be just as significant as intentional abuse and yet it is arguably far easier to prevent.

In all cases of suspected neglect or harm, local multi-agency policies and procedures should be followed. The safety of the individual concerned should be of paramount importance, and all action taken and decisions made should be clearly recorded. Local protocols should determine when a concern should be referred through safeguarding procedures and when it should be dealt with through supervision, training and other practice improvement mechanisms. We provide a number of examples of decision-making tools from across the country.

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