Close up dictionary definition of 'abuse'

Outline how the likelihood of abuse can be reduced by managing risk and focusing on prevention

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One way to reduce the likelihood of abuse happening in a care setting is by managing risk and focusing on prevention.

When thinking about risks, it is necessary to balance the risks against the rights of the individual.

Risk enablement is a person-centred approach that takes into account person-centred values such as respect and choice. It involves supporting individuals that are receiving care to collaborate on the assessment of their own risks and make their own decisions, rather than care staff making decisions on their behalf.

For example, it may be suggested to an individual that has mobility issues that care staff are employed to help them to shower or bathe. The individual may not feel comfortable with this and express that they would like to continue to bathe themselves but they identify risks such as difficulty getting to the bathroom and getting into the bath. The care staff would then work with them to identify solutions that can maintain their independence, such as having a walk-in bath fitted in a downstairs room or staff just assisting them to get in the bath in a gown and then leaving them to wash themselves. It may be that additional safeguards are needed such as an alarm if the individual gets into difficulty but this would be judged on an individual basis.

This helps to maintain the individuals dignity and respects their privacy as well as offering choice and independence.

By having control over their support, individuals can develop the confidence to make sure that their voice is heard and are much more likely to report unsafe practices or other things that they are not happy with. This empowerment of individuals can result in them being less vulnerable to abuse.

As you have learned, working with person-centred values is an important preventative measure for abuse and neglect. Other ways that organisations can reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect through prevention are:

  • Ensuring that all staff are well-trained in person-centred care and safeguarding
  • Running internal campaigns to highlight to staff what abuse is and how it can be prevented
  • Ensuring all agreed ways of working are up-to-date, including the safeguarding policy, whistleblowing policy and individual’s care plans
  • To have a culture of honesty and transparency
  • Treating all complaints seriously and following them up swiftly

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