Support for Carers
Many people with care and support needs are well looked after and receive help when they need and want it. However sometimes people, particularly those who are older and frailer, or those who suffer from dementia or have communication problems, are more vulnerable.
Abuse or neglect can be difficult to spot but below are some of the signs that might suggest there is a problem.
- Unexplained or frequent injuries – that might be bruising, cuts, welts, burns, marks on a person’s body or neck, or significant loss of hair
- Someone being reluctant to be alone with an individual or their behaviour to an individual in their lives changing dramatically
- Unwillingness to see a GP, seek professional medical help or personal care when it’s needed
- Low self-esteem – the victim may feel the abuse is their fault when it is not
- Marked changes in someone’s behaviour. That might include uncooperative or aggressive behaviour or, instead, signs of distress, tearfulness or anger or withdrawal
Remember that you can make a difference and you can get professional advice when you think there is problem. Working together we can keep people who need help safe.
Circumstances in which a carer could be involved in a situation that may require a safegaurding response could be:
- a carer witnessing or speaking up about abuse and neglect
- a carer experiencing intentional or unintentional harm from the adult they are caring for or from professionals and organisations they are in contact with
- a carer intentionally or unintentionally harming or neglecting the adult they care for on their own or with others
Assessment of both the carer and the adult they care for must include consideration of both their wellbeing. The Care Act includes protection from abuse and neglect as part of the definition of wellbeing. As such, a needs or carer’s assessment is an important opportunity to explore the individuals’ circumstances and consider whether it would be possible to provide information, or support that prevents abuse or neglect from occurring, for example, by providing training to the carer about the condition that the adult they care for has or to support them to care more safely. Where that is necessary the local authority should make arrangements for providing it.
It is essential that any carers speaking out about abuse are listened to and that where appropriate a safeguarding enquiry is undertaken and other agencies are involved as appropriate.
If a carer experiences intentional or unintentional harm from the adult they are supporting, or if a carer unintentionally or intentionally harms or neglects the adult they support, consideration should be given to:
- whether, as part of the assessment and support planning process for the carer and, or, the adult they care for, support can be provided that removes or mitigates the risk of abuse. For example, the provision of training or information or other support that minimises the stress experienced by the carer. In some circumstances the carer may need to have independent representation or advocacy; in others, a carer may benefit from having such support if they are under great stress or similar; and
- whether other agencies should be involved; in some circumstances where a criminal offence is suspected this will include alerting the police, or in others the primary healthcare services may need to be involved in monitoring.
If you are caring for someone in Wiltshire you can find out more about how you can access help and support on the Your Care, Your Support Wiltshire website.
As a carer you may be looking for training to help you provide the best support to the person you care for you may need an advocate to support in having your voice heard when decisions are being made about care and support. Carer Support Wiltshire provides a wide range of help and advice for carers including coordinating a training network of organisations that deliver training to carers and independent advocacy support.