1.3 Explain own responsibilities relating to the current legislative framework with regard to safeguarding

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 12: Understand safeguarding and protection in health and social care settings

LO1: Understand the impact of current legislation for the safeguarding of adults at risk of abuse and neglect

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1.3 Explain own responsibilities relating to the current legislative framework with regard to safeguarding

As a care worker, you have several responsibilities relating to the current legislative framework with regard to the safeguarding of adults at risk of abuse and neglect. You are expected to understand this legislative framework and act on them in the interests of your patients or clients.

The laws about how professionals should help protect adults and children at risk of abuse and neglect are set out in the Care Act 2014 and the Mental Health Capacity Act 2005. The legal duties of care workers are as follows:

  • You have a ‘duty to safeguard’ – This means that you must take reasonable steps to protect people who may be vulnerable from abuse or neglect – for example, by spotting when children or vulnerable adults need protection. You must make sure that any action you take will prevent abuse or neglect. If a child is being abused, your ‘duty to safeguard’ means you must do something about it, even if the child does not ask for help.
  • You have a duty of ‘promoting an individual’s wellbeing’ – This isn’t just about keeping people safe from harm – it includes helping them to lead fulfilling lives and achieve their full potential. You should try to understand what matters most to someone and then help them get involved in making decisions that affect their lives. You should encourage them to be as independent as possible and give advice on how they can access services and support available in the community where appropriate.

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If you need advice on how best to promote an adult’s wellbeing, contact the Adults Safeguarding service of your local authority. As a care worker, you have several responsibilities relating to your patients or clients at risk of abuse and neglect that includes:

  • You are expected to be familiar with the current legislation with regard to safeguarding adults at risk of abuse and neglect. This will enable you to identify cases where there is a need for your intervention.
  • If a person has been assessed as being at risk of abuse and requires help and support, the care agency must have regard to any advice given by social services under s47(2) of the Care Act 2014 in order to ensure that their needs are met and that their right to express a preference is respected. If they do not give their permission for their data to be recorded, you should not record it.
  • You should not allow anyone who is likely to pose a risk of abuse or neglect towards an adult (for example, they may be violent) access to them. You must also take reasonable precautions against placing individuals with mental health problems at risk of self-neglect.
  • If someone discloses information about ongoing abuse and/or neglect, the agency has a legal obligation to make sure that appropriate action is taken. Your first step should be to contact your manager for further guidance on the next steps before discussing details of the discloser with others.
  • You must not ignore any reasonable suspicions that a child or adult may be at risk of significant harm from someone, even though you do not have all the evidence to prove it. It is those who actually carry out the abuse and neglect who are committing a criminal offense by doing so. Your role as a care worker is to prevent this from happening – if you suspect something but fail to act then you could find yourself facing charges for neglect. You should follow your employer’s procedures on how to make referrals and keep records of your actions with regard to making referrals and decisions on whether or not there was abuse or neglect. See below for further information on keeping records.
  • If an Adult Safeguarding referral is made and Adult Social Care considers immediate action is required, they will contact the police and an Emergency Protection Order may be put in place. This means that the vulnerable adult is removed from their home and placed into a safe environment while further investigations take place.

This could mean that you need to make arrangements for someone to care for or temporarily accommodate a person who might otherwise be abused or neglected when you are on leave. If there’s something specific in your personal circumstances about your caring responsibilities, please inform your manager when arranging cover so we can make appropriate arrangements to meet individual needs where possible.

You must ensure that any equipment or medication which you use is applied with due regard to the health and safety requirements of current legislation. You should only use equipment that you are trained to use and only apply medication as instructed by a doctor or another healthcare professional.

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