The Care Act, which came into force on 1 April 2015, sets out the Local Authority’s responsibility for protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse or neglect in primary legislation.
For the first time, this makes direct reference to self-neglect. Section 1 of The Act provides particular focus on well-being in relation to an individual, and requires that organisations should always promote the adult’s well-being in their safeguarding arrangements.
Gibbons et al (2006) defines Self-Neglect as
the inability (intentionally or unintentionally) to maintain a socially and culturally acceptable standard of self-care with the potential for serious consequence to the health and well-being of those who self-neglect and perhaps too to their community.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Multi-Agency Policy and Procedure to Support People who Self-Neglect should be referred to where an adult is believed to be self-neglecting and therefore may be at a high level of risk. An adult may be at risk of serious harm where they are:
- Either unable, or unwilling to provide adequate care for themselves
- Not engaging with a network of support
- Unable to or unwilling to obtain necessary care to meet their needs
- Unable to make reasonable, informed or mentally capacitated decisions due to mental disorder (including hoarding behaviours), illness or acquired brain injury
- Unable to protect themselves adequately against potential exploitation or abuse
- Refusing essential support without which their health and safety needs cannot be met and the individual lacks insight to recognise this.
This procedure will work alongside the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Multi-Agency protocol for working with people with hoarding behaviours.