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5 – HSC CM3: Safeguarding in Health and Social Care

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1.1 Explain what is meant by ‘safeguarding’.

Safeguarding in health and social care is the process of protecting individuals from abuse or neglect. Safeguarding measures can include things like background checks for staff, training on recognising and reporting abuse, and developing policies and procedures to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.

Abuse can happen anywhere, but it is especially likely to occur in settings where vulnerable people are cared for by others, such as hospitals, nursing homes, or group homes. Abuse can take many forms, including physical violence, sexual assault, emotional manipulation/coercion, financial exploitation, and neglect. Any type of maltreatment can have serious consequences for victims, so it’s important that everyone who works in health and social care knows how to recognise signs of abuse and report it immediately.

It is essential that health and social care professionals have a good understanding of what safeguarding is, as they play a key role in protecting vulnerable individuals. However, safeguarding is not just the responsibility of professionals; everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, don’t hesitate to reach out to authorities or other organisations that can help. By working together, we can make sure that everyone has the right to live free from abuse and neglect. The Care Act (2014) introduced the concept of safeguarding into law and set out how local authorities, health services and other agencies should work together to safeguard adults at risk from abuse or neglect.

As far as children’s safeguarding is concerned, these two principles apply:

  1. Child-centred approach: The needs and rights of the child should be at the centre of all decision-making. This means that decisions should be made in the best interests of the child, and their safety and well-being should be paramount.
  2. Everyone is responsible: Everyone has a role to play in safeguarding children, and everyone should be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect. If you have concerns about a child, it is important to speak up and get help.

There are six basic principles that underpin the work of adult safeguarding:

  1. Empowerment: Adults should have the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. They should be empowered to make their own decisions and given information so they can understand the risks involved.
  2. Prevention: It is better to prevent abuse or neglect from happening in the first place, rather than trying to deal with it after it has occurred. This means that we need to identify risk factors early on and put measures in place to stop them from happening.
  3. Proportionality: The response to safeguarding concerns should be proportional to the level of risk faced by the individual concerned. This means that not all cases will require a full investigation; some may just need support or advice, for example.
  4. Partnership working: Safeguarding adults at risk is best achieved by working together with other organisations and agencies. This includes working with family members, friends, and carers where appropriate.
  5. Accountability: Everyone involved in safeguarding adults at risk should be clear about their roles and responsibilities and held accountable for their actions.
  6. Protection: Adults at risk should be protected from abuse or neglect, and their rights should be upheld. This includes the right to live in safety, free from fear and harm.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2 Explain how safeguarding:
    – Keeps individuals safe
    – Value individual needs
    – Protects individuals
  • 1.3. Explain how Health and social care practitioners can take steps to safeguard themselves.
  • 2.1. Summarise current legislation in relation to safeguarding.
  • 2.2. Describe the relationship between legislation, policy and procedure.
  • 2.3. Identify policy and procedures in relation to safeguarding.
  • 3.1. Explain factors that may contribute to an individual being vulnerable to harm or abuse
  • 4.1. Describe signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concern relating to:
    – Physical abuse
    – Sexual abuse
    – Domestic abuse
    – Emotional abuse
    – Neglect
  • 5.1. Explain the boundaries of confidentiality in relation to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of individuals
  • 6.1. Evaluate the role and responsibilities of the health and social care practitioner in relation to safeguarding individuals.

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