How important is safeguarding in care homes?

6 Guiding principles to help ensure safe quality of life in your care home

It’s not only quality of care that matters in your care home, it is the quality of life you provide your residents. Each resident deserves to be respected, and to be afforded privacy while having control over their care. You must also ensure each resident’s safety. In this regard, your duty of care extends to safeguarding – ensuring residents have their liberty while being free from the risk of abuse or neglect.

What does the law say about safeguarding?

When writing your safeguarding policies and procedures, you must remain compliant with several laws. These include:

  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • The Care Act 2014
  • The Equality Act 2010

You must not:

  • Discriminate on any grounds, including age, disability, race, religion, gender, etc.
  • Conduct care in such a way that controls or restrains an individual unless it is necessary to prevent risk of harm to them or another
  • Be degrading toward the resident
  • Disregard the needs of the resident for care or treatment

Quality of life and safeguarding

You are responsible for developing policies that safeguard your residents and your care workers, and for ensuring that these policies translate into effective procedures. You’ll also need to ensure that your employees follow these procedures.

Procedures specifically designed to promote and enhance quality of life will help your employees learn about the outcomes that your residents desire. Staff can then work with residents to help them achieve a balance between their choice and the need to ensure their safety. This approach helps to personalise safeguarding and individualise choices – aiding liberty and quality of life.

The role of risk of abuse or neglect in quality of life

The risk of abuse or neglect, whether perceived or real, has a negative effect on the quality of life of your residents. Your policies and procedures should accept the different kinds of abuse and neglect:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Abuse of belongings
  • Abuse of the right to choose

Neglect is lack of support, failure to recognise needs, failure to treat residents as equals, not providing medication when it is needed, etc.

The guiding principles of safeguarding

If a resident is abused or neglected, or feels threatened by abuse or neglect, their quality of life will be adversely affected. Producing the policies and procedures that prevent this is a difficult undertaking – how do your tread the fine line between ensuring liberty and ensuring safety?

The government has produced a set of six guiding principles for commissioning bodies. These serve as a good framework on which to base your care home’s policies and procedures:

1. Empowerment:

Supporting residents to make their own decisions and be involved with how treatment and care is provided to them.

2. Protection:

Use of best practices to protect those who lack mental capacity to make their own decisions.

3. Prevention

Use feedback and complaints to inform policies and procedures.

4. Proportionate response

Understand the nature of complaints and what are alerts as to safeguarding issues. Take appropriate responses, and ensure your staff understand and employ good safeguarding practices (coach and train as needed).

5. Partnership

Work with residents, care workers and other providers to develop services that offer choice and quality, while reducing risks.

6. Accountability

Remain compliant with CQC quality standards, while providing strong leadership to well-trained staff who are competent in safeguarding procedures. This includes the responsibility to notify of any concerns about abuse and neglect.

Ensure quality of life by ensuring safeguarding

There is a balance to be struck between ensuring liberty of residents and maintaining safety. As a care home manager, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are trained in safeguarding practices, including reporting any safeguarding concerns. As well as these policies and procedures, you must also have a whistleblowing policy to enable employees to raise concerns when they feel unable to do so internally.

Is safeguarding training included in your staff training rota? Contact StriveCare today, and we’ll show you how you could benefit from top-quality safeguarding training, and NVQ Diploma training at no cost to you.

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