The Definition of ‘Vulnerable Adults’ and the Services They Receive

It’s important to know that being able to live safely, free from fear and abuse, is a right. When our loved ones are in a vulnerable position, whether through illness or disability, we expect those chosen to care for them to ensure that right is maintained at all times. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and it’s common for people, especially vulnerable adults, not to reveal that they are being abused. This could be because of fear of what their abuser may do to them, low self-esteem, they don’t want to ‘make a fuss’, are embarrassed, or don’t have enough money to take legal action or move away from the situation.

Vulnerable Adult Definition

The Department of Health defines a vulnerable adult as a person aged 18 or over who may need community care services because of a disability (mental or other), age, or illness. 

A person is also considered vulnerable if they are unable to look after themselves, protect themselves from harm or exploitation or are unable to report abuse.

What Does Abuse Of Vulnerable People Look Like?

Abuse can take many forms, including:

  • Physical – being hit, slapped, pushed or restrained, which results in burns, cuts, black eyes, and internal injuries.
  • Verbal – being humiliated, isolated, controlled and harassed. This kind of abuse affects the emotional health of a vulnerable adult.
  • Sexual – including indecent exposure, sexual harassment and rape.
  • Financial – stealing money from vulnerable adults or misusing their money.
  • Self Abuse – not providing them with enough food and the right medicines or not helping them wash and change their clothes.

Some are easier to spot than others, and unfortunately, it’s imperative to always keep an eye out for any symptoms of abuse regardless of a carer’s or healthcare professionals reputation.

How To Prevent Abuse In Vulnerable Adults

Because vulnerable adults have a high risk of maltreatment, it’s crucial to put as many barriers to abuse in place as possible. Many victims are reluctant to report abuse and sometimes even deny the harm they experienced. 

Therefore, you, other friends or family members and physicians need to step in and protect your loved ones as much as possible. We recommend the following:

  • If your loved one is moving into a care home, or a carer is coming into their home, check with their superiors that they have had an enhanced DBS check carried out against them. Ask how often these checks are renewed and do not allow a carer who hasn’t been through a recent DBS check to care for your loved one. 
  • Ensure that all healthcare appointments are kept. Regular check-ups can work to bring any abuse to light by allowing your loved one a safe and secure space to talk.
  • Schedule visitation between you and close friends and family. This will showcase that there are multiple people concerned with your loved one’s well-being and be a warning to potential abusers. 
  • Abusers target vulnerable and isolated adults. Encourage your loved one to remain as active and social as possible. 
  • Similarly, keep an eye out for anybody who insists on staying with your loved one more than is usual or necessary.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel like something may be wrong, bring it up with the relevant people, whether a care home manager or a live-in care provider.

The Care Act 2014 provides further protection for vulnerable adults. It is a legal framework assisting local authorities in their safeguarding duties, such as:

  • Protection
  • Empowerment
  • Accountability
  • Prevention
  • Proportionality
  • Partnerships

The Act is implemented with the help of the police, NHS and other organisations to provide awareness to the public.

A quality DBS check is provided by Care Check to make sure that people who want to work within a regulated environment with vulnerable adults have clear criminal records to permit an applicant to work with them. To know more about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us through 0333 777 8575 or info@carecheck.co.uk. If you’re ready to register your organisation, you can do that here.