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Abuse of the Elderly and Vulnerable Adults: Over 100,000 Abused in Care

Abuse of the Elderly and Vulnerable Adults: Over 100,000 Abused in Care

The first annual Safeguarding Adults Return, produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), was published earlier this week. The record of investigations, collected from all England’s councils, showed that approximately 104,000 elderly or vulnerable people suffered abusive treatment in care homes or their own homes last year, according to complaints made by their families and friends.

The most serious cases led to 46 deaths, the majority of them older people. Official figures reveal there were 32,000 allegations of physical assault, 36,000 cases of neglect and 22,000 cases in which frail, old or mentally incapacitated over-18s were said to have been cheated out of money.

Report sheds light on abuse in home or in instiutions

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said the report, “sheds light on the extent and type of abuse reported to have been perpetrated on some of our most vulnerable citizens”. More than half of the abuse allegations were made regarding the treatment of people who were physically frail or disabled, with a quarter of the alleged victims suffering from dementia or mental incapacity of some other form. The majority of the abuse was caused by social care and support workers.

A recent high-profile case saw three former care home workers, Daniel Baynes, Tomasz Gidaszewski and Janusz Salnikow, barred for life from working with vulnerable adults. They were found guilty of ill-treatment of Gladys Wright, a resident at the Granary Dementia Care Centre near Bristol. Footage from a hidden camera showed her being roughly handled, grabbed by the throat, teased, or ignored. Jim Wright, her son said "It's absolutely disgusting. It's the opposite of care. It's neglect. It's abuse. She was thrown about like she was a sack of something”.

CQC introduces new standards for care homes

Andrea Sutcliffe, the chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has said that the standard of care in homes “is not good enough at the moment”, adding that "There is too much awful care that is actually happening and calling time on poor care is something that we have got to do".

To that end, the CQC has introduced new measures to improve how it inspects and regulates care homes. Care providers will be issued with handbooks setting out what is expected of them; they will also have to pass a “Mum Test”, where care is of the quality they would expect a family member to receive.

The current ratings system – whereby homes are judged either “Compliant” or “Non-compliant” – will be replaced by one which grades them as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, or Inadequate. Families may also be allowed to install CCTV cameras in private rooms. Care minister Norman Lamb said the new checks mark a “turning point” in the government’s mission to rebuild trust in the care system.

“Abuse is unacceptable”

Referring back to the HSCIC’s report, Age UK's Caroline Abrahams said “These figures are worryingly high. Abuse is unacceptable and there must be zero tolerance approach to any abuse, whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty. Our worry is some older people may feel they have no one to turn to for help and there are still many cases that are not reported. We encourage anyone who suspects an older person is being abused to contact their social services department or the police straight away”.

Make a compensation claim for the abuse of vulnerable adults and the elderly

We are highly skilled lawyers, focusing on supporting those who have life-changing injuries and illnesses. A serious injury or illness has implications beyond the condition itself, such as care needs, work-related issues, relationship impact and medical treatment needs. We work closely with you and your family, to improve your quality of life beyond securing compensation.

Our goal is to obtain justice for victims of the negligence by others, by securing compensation that reflects their pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses including treatment costs and specialist care costs.

Call our vulnerable adult and elder abuse solicitors in confidence on 01895 207835. Alternatively, email us at PI@ibblaw.co.uk.