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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Abuse – Article 9 – Neglect & Acts of Omission

An act of omission may occur when a health or social care professional fails to meet the standards required of them by their professional code of conduct, e.g. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), General Medical Council (GMC) or Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 contains a criminal offense of ‘wilful neglect’, which if proven in a court of law may result in prosecution. 

Neglect and acts of omission may include:
  • medical or physical care needs being ignored to such an extent that their health and well-being is impaired
  • administering too much, too little, or the wrong type of medication
  • failure to allow the adult access to appropriate health, social care or education services
  • withholding the necessities of life, such as adequate nutrition, heating or clothing
  • failure to intervene in situations assessed to be dangerous to the adult or others especially when the person lacks capacity to assess risk

Signs that neglect or acts of omission may be taking place:
  • malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • unexplained rapid or continuous weight loss or weight gain
  • poor physical condition, e.g. skin ulcers, excoriation, pressure sores, pale or sallow complexion hypothermia
  • no access to necessary aids e.g. walking aids, hearing aids, spectacles or dentures
  • exposed to unacceptable risk
  • inadequate or inappropriate clothing
  • untreated medical problems
  • poor hygiene, incontinence odour, dirty fingernails, old food residue in-between teeth, broken or missing dentures or stained clothing, dirty or soiled bedding
  • callers/visitors being refused access
  • missed medical appointments and a carer’s/care worker’s reluctance to involve health and social care professionals in the person’s care.
  • Neglect could be due to a carer being overstretched or under-resourced - the carer may seem very tired, anxious or apathetic.

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