Are you, or is one of your colleagues, struggling to work with someone who hoards or self-neglects? Hoarding disorders are challenging to treat, because many people who hoard frequently don’t see it as a problem, or have little awareness of how it’s impacting their life or the lives of others. Many others do realise they have a problem, but are reluctant to seek help because they feel extremely ashamed, humiliated or guilty about it.
It’s really important to encourage a person who is hoarding to seek help, as their difficulties discarding objects can not only cause loneliness and mental health problems, but also pose a health and safety risk. If not tackled, it’s a problem that will probably never go away. The clutter can pose a health risk to the person and anyone who lives in or visits their house. For example, it can:
- make cleaning very difficult, leading to unhygienic conditions and encouraging rodent or insect infestations
- be a fire risk and block exits in the event of a fire
- cause trips and falls
- fall over or collapse on people, if kept in large piles
Have you got a risk assessment in place for this situation?
Are the fire authorities aware of the issue?
Cambridgeshire Fire Service are encouraging those with hoarding tendencies to get in contact and arrange a home fire safety check. http://www.cambsfire.gov.uk/contact-form-577.aspx