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6 – 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 means protecting vulnerable people from abuse or neglect. This can include physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or abuse. It can also mean not providing enough care for someone’s basic needs.

Some vulnerable people may need extra help to keep them safe from harm. For example, they might need help to communicate their wishes or understand what is happening around them. They might also need support to stay physically safe and healthy.

Health and social care professionals have a duty of care to safeguard the people they work with. This means they must take reasonable steps to protect them from foreseeable risks of harm. If they think someone is at risk of being harmed, they should take action to protect them – even if this goes against the wishes of the person themselves or their family members.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. We all have a role to play in keeping vulnerable people safe from harm. If you see or hear something that makes you worried about someone’s safety, don’t ignore it – speak up and get help.

The Care Act 2014 sets out the government’s vision for safeguarding in health and social care. It includes a new duty on local authorities to promote well-being and prevent harm, as well as new powers to intervene where there are concerns about abuse or neglect. Adult safeguarding has six basic principles: Empowerment, Prevention, Proportionality, Protection, Partnership, and Accountability.

  • Empowerment: Empowering people to make their own choices and giving them the support they need to stay safe is crucial as far as safeguarding is concerned. This means ensuring that they have the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their care and support. It also includes making sure that they have a voice in decision-making processes and that their views are respected.
  • Prevention: Preventing abuse and neglect from happening in the first place is always better than trying to deal with the fallout afterwards. This means putting safeguards in place to protect vulnerable people and raising awareness of the signs of abuse and neglect. It also includes supporting people who may be at risk of harming others so that they can get help
  • Proportionality: The response to safeguarding concerns should be proportionate to the level of risk involved. This means taking a graduated approach, starting with informal action if there are low-level concerns and escalating to formal intervention only when necessary. It also means using the least intrusive form of intervention possible – for example, offering support rather than forcing someone into care.
  • Protection: Safeguarding is about protecting vulnerable people from harm – not punishing them for being victims of abuse or neglect. This means ensuring that any action taken does not further expose them to risks or re-traumatise them. It also includes providing support during investigations and legal proceedings so that they can give evidence without fear or intimidation.
  • Partnership: Effective safeguarding requires partnership working between different agencies and professionals. This means sharing information and resources and coordinating action to protect vulnerable people. It also includes involving families and carers in decision-making processes so that they can play a role in keeping their loved ones safe.
  • Accountability: Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility – but there must be clear accountability for ensuring that vulnerable people are protected from harm. This means having robust systems and procedures in place to ensure that concerns are raised and acted on promptly. It also includes making sure that those who fail to safeguard vulnerable people are held to account for their actions – through disciplinary proceedings or, if necessary, criminal prosecution.

The two basic principles of children safeguarding are:

  • That the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration. This means that when making decisions about safeguarding, the welfare of the child should always come first. This includes taking into account their physical and mental health, their emotional needs, and their development.
  • That it is the responsibility of everyone to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This means that everyone has a role to play in keeping children safe from harm – including parents, carers, professionals, and members of the wider community. It also includes making sure that children are protected from abuse and neglect by those in positions of power or authority.

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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