Care home staff ‘feel untrusted’ by adult safeguarding system

Care home staff feel "under pressure" and "not trusted" because of the number of adult safeguarding alerts providers feel they have to make, sometimes for trivial issues.

Care home staff feel “under pressure” and “not trusted” because of the number of adult safeguarding alerts providers feel they have to make, sometimes for trivial issues.

That was the warning from Social Care Association president Pat Bailey at a session on safeguarding at the National Children and Adult Services Conference.

“Staff feel they are not allowed to make mistakes or to learn from them; they are often suspended,” Bailey said in a response from the floor. “Staff are saying, ‘are we going to have soem more common sense?; is it safeguarding if someone throws a piece of toast and it hits an elderly person?’.”

She emphasised that the Social Care Association wanted to improve practice, but added: “Ninety-five per cent of people who deliver care in care homes get up in the morning to do a good job and they don’t feel trusted.”

Bailey said providers felt that they were not “partners” in adult safeguarding with councils and other statutory agencies and that they felt “done to”.

From the panel, Local Government Group adult safeguarding lead Cathie Williams admitted: “We need to sort out the difference between situations when someone turns the television over without asking anyone and really poor practice.”

She added: “There’s a big challenge for everyone in that.”

However, citizens’ concerns about safeguarding adults needed to be addressed, particularly in major national incidents such as Winterbourne View, said Penny Furness-Smith, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services safeguarding network.

“We are trying to work in a partnership-based way that listens to people who use services,” she said.

The session was also told that the Department of Health was looking to ensure that the scope of the adult safeguarding system should be specified as part of social care legislation due in this parliament.

“We want [next year’s bill] to identify who comes within the framework of adult safeguarding arrangements,” said DH adult safeguarding lead Claire Crawley.

The bill, which is due to follow a White Paper, would also put adult safeguarding boards on a statutory footing.

See more stories on the NCAS conference 2011

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