Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults: What does this mean?
A vulnerable adult is classed as anybody over the age of 18 who requires care due to physical or mental disability, age or illness. The definition includes those who are unable to take care of themselves, and most significantly are unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation.
It is the right of every adult to live with dignity and autonomy, free from abuse. Care systems which manage the health and care of vulnerable people generally have standards in place to ensure that carers are providing this level of respect.
Care in the News
Recently, the standards of care as they apply to vulnerable adults have been in the news a lot, due to negative press surrounding a few individual care homes. This is obviously a huge problem for the sector's public perception, and the conference held earlier this week was aimed at improving and investigating certain areas of care which could be worked on.
One notable presentation was Chloe Hood's, which focused on improving the quality of care for older adults while they are in hospital. Recent research has highlighted a number of problems in this area, which The Royal College of Psychiatrists is hoping to tackle with a new quality improvement program - supported by a number of national organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Nursing, British Geriatrics Society and the charity Age UK. The programme, "Quality Mark for Elder-Friendly Hospital Wards", will encourage individual hospitals to work towards achieving the Quality Mark by successfully passing patient and staff questionnaires. These will touch on topics including:
How senior management prioritises the care of older people across the hospital
The authority of ward managers to deliver care adapted to the needs of the old and the very frail
The way departments work together to provide the best service for older people
You can learn more about care for vulnerable people in your area by contacting your local medical authority. To find out what else was on the timetable for this week's conference, take a look at the brochure here - and keep an eye out for more news in the coming weeks!