Abuse of the Elderly


What is Elder Abuse?
The term Elder Abuse has its origin in the USA.  It has no legal status or clear definition.  In the United Kingdom, its prevalence is on the rise.  It can occur in many different settings and can be difficult to identify.

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Types of Elder Abuse
Abuse can be physical, financial, psychological, discriminatory and sexual.  It can be neglect.  It can be by a care giver or provider to include independent health providers, NHS or a care home.  Abuse can also be inflicted by others to include relatives, friends, neighbours and attorneys.

In the UK 500,000 elder people are abused each year.

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What are the signs of abuse?
> Physical signs can include cuts and lacerations, dehydration, poor skin condition, loss of weight and soiled bed clothes.
> Signs of psychological abuse can include helplessness, confusion, fear, denial, implausible stories and anger without cause.
> Signs of neglect by a care giver can include dirt, faecal or urine smells, rashes and sores, poor hygiene, lack of assistance with eating and drinking and abandonment.
> Signs of financial abuse can include the inclusion of additional names on a person’s bank account, the unexplained disappearance of funds or other assets, signatures on cheques that do not resemble the person’s signature. These are just a few examples.
> Signs of a care provider’s abuse can include punching, slapping, shouting, denying food or drink and the improper use of restraints. Other signs can include the cared person not being allowed to speak for themselves, an absence of assistance and a previous history of abusive behaviour by the care provider.

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What is the responsibility of Local Authorities?
The Care Act 2014 at Section 43 gives councils the responsibility for setting up Safeguarding Adult Boards for it’s  area.  The Local Authorities need to involve other agencies such as the NHS, the Police, Housing Associations and such other organizations it considers appropriate.  If a person has fears about a vulnerable adult and in particular but not exclusively an elderly adult you can report them to the local authorities Safeguarding Adult Board.

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What are the remedies?
If the abuse is by an individual or a  caregiver, either a care provider, hospital or care home, the remedies can include reporting to the Care Quality Commission, a claim for damages, injunctions from the Court of Protection, Harassment Injunctions, Domestic Injunctions. Additionally, you can report matters to the police, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board the Safeguarding Adult Board for the vulnerable person area.There are many remedies.  The start point, however, is what does the victim want to achieve?

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Why contact abdcare?
abdcare abdcare is a specialist organisation dealing with elderly care issues and abuse claims.  The organisation regularly pursues health providers, hospitals and care homes.

abdcare abdcare can investigate claims for an initial fixed fee which will cover the cost of obtaining medical and care home records and other evidence.  Further work can be undertaken if appropriate pursuant to a no win no fee agreement and insurance which means clients can bring a claim without fear of receiving a large bill. Alternatively you may have a before the event insurance policy.  There are a number of ways to fund a claim.  Instructions on behalf of elderly or frail clients can be provided by relatives or those with a Power of Attorney or by Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection.

 

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