Abuse - Noticing the signs

“If you have a relative receiving care or are supporting someone in care and have concerns of their well-being, it is in the best interest of all parties to report the concern before it turns into abuse. In some cases the misconduct may be due to lack of training, awareness or a personal conflict of interest.” 

By raising your concerns an investigation can begin where all parties have an opportunity to discuss the concerns raised and act accordingly. Nightingales Army will use our training and awareness to reduce bad practice and abuse. By standardizing the job role and requirements for entry we can ensure those coming into the industry are: transparent, holistic and accredited. All new staff entering the industry though Nightingales Army will be registered on Nightingales Army register.

Below are some examples of different types of abuse from something a simple as not brushing teeth to mental abuse and physical or verbal attacks. Abuse does not just happen to those receiving the care, it can happen between care staff, towards care staff, from family and friends to the individual in care and to the staff supporting them. We at Nightingales Army do not tolerate abuse. We will not accept any abuse towards care staff from individuals reviving care or their relatives. We will not accept any abuse from either employers or employees to their staff, colleagues or those in their care.

These videos only represent a very small minority of health care assistants who have not followed conduct correctly.

Content warning some videos may be disturbing. All videos used here are publicly accessible from a range of sources. Such as: The BBC.  

The effects of poor personal hygiene.

Brushing your teeth is something we all do on a daily basis, the ability to do this is something we all take for granted and don’t normally give this task a second thought but what if this ability was taken away from you? What if tomorrow you couldn’t lift your arms due to a stroke, or you couldn’t hold the toothbrush due to arthritis or what if you just don’t remember anymore to brush your teeth due to dementia? 

Not being able to brush your teeth can cause more problems than just poor oral hygiene, it can cause severe discomfort and pain, it can cause weight loss due to not being able to eat properly, dehydration as hot and cold fluids can cause pain, this can also lead to lack of confidence and not wanting to socialize which can then lead to isolation.

Unfortunately this is seen far too much in care homes, our personal experience has been that some staff lack confidence in this task, they felt uncomfortable as its quite invasive and very much in someone’s personal space, others stated they forgot due to the high demand of calls they receive and felt rushed when delivering personal care. This however is something we hope to change by raising awareness and educating  on the importance of this task. A service users oral hygiene needs should be documented in their care plan on arrival, this should be clear information and available for all involved in delivering personal care.

Physical abuse in care homes. Hidden cameras.

When a service user enters the care setting one of the first things that should be done is a body map, this will ensure that any marks, cuts or bruises are accounted for. There are many ways bruises can appear on a body, sometimes they can be caused by certain medications like aspirin which is a blood thinner, sometimes they can be caused by infection that causes the buildup of toxin in the blood or tissues sepsis and sometimes it is physical abuse.

In our experience the most common explanation for “unexplained” bruising is poor manual handling. Training is very poor and not realistic, training is normally done on each other using staff on duty, which can be a health care assistant, housekeeper or anyone on duty that day, which means it’s taught without any realistic scenarios. practicing on each comes with no obstacles: the obstacles that we would normally face day to day in our job roles, for example: someone who is obese, someone who is a non responsive or resistant, someone who is showing signs of delirium, these things along with lack of confidence due to poor training and staff shortages and being faced with a scene they have not been trained for cause healthcare assistants to make poor manual handling choices which can result in injury too the service user and ones self. However this should always be reported and documented. 

Medication abuse.

Medication abuse: is something that should be taken very seriously. Whether you are a carer, nurse  family member or a member of the public. If you witness this act it must be reported immediately. We understand that it can be scary and make you feel extremely anxious but once you have witnessed this act you have a duty of care to report it. There is no excuse for medication abuse. The use of any medication on an individual should be provided in a safe professional manner, with trained competent staff, the administration of medication should only be used for it purpose, i.e pain relief, reduce constipation, increase water or blood flow. Never should it be used in the manner the nurse has used it in this video.

Medication errors: occur daily within the care setting. Research undertaken by care home use of medicines study (CHUMS) found that on any given day seven out of ten residents were subject to at least one form of medication error. In our experience of working within various care settings we support these findings. Any person responsible for administering medication usually does so under extreme circumstances of pressure, this is due to lack of staff care staff, nurses and healthcare assistants in the environment. Care staff are spread very thinly even when administering medication. Noise pollution is also a contributing factor, for example call bell systems these can be very loud and repetitive which can disrupt the task that is being undertaken at the time, It is good practice for everybody involved in the care that is being delivered in a care home setting – nurses, healthcare assistants, team leaders and care co-ordinators to carry a pager, so they are continuously aware of the level of calls on the system to be able to help the team and be aware of any emergency bells occurring. Nurses and healthcare assistants are human and not robots and it would be completely unacceptable to think that errors would not occur due to working under these conditions.

Have an unanswered question? Contact us today and we will help you to find an answer.

Take note:

Mummy unraveled - Tony Luciani. Photo subject to copyright

Abuse – Noticing the signs. Not all abuse is visible and as obvious to notice as one may think.

Self-neglect. Own Abuse

Overworked, no recognition, stressed, tired, not eating properly. Some of the main contributors of self abuse.

When we think of abuse we generally assume physical abuse. One person hurting another through a physical action with the intent to cause harm. This is not always the case. Abuse can come in many forms:

  • Physical abuse
  • Domestic violence or abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological or emotional abuse
  • Financial or material abuse
  • Modern slavery
  • Discriminatory abuse
  • Organisational or institutional abuse
  • Neglect or acts of omission
  • Self-neglect

Self neglect can effect you physically and mentally. It can have adverse effects on your day to day life, relationships at home, in your family or at work. If you are not caring for yourself you are unable to care for others. Finding the right support for you in and out of work is essential to your well-being and the well-being and safety of those around you. When you neglect yourself your decision making process is at risk, making rash decisions when stressed or frustrated will increase accidents and put those in your care at risk of harm. 

Nowhere to hide
Nowhere to hide. Tony Luciani Photograph. Subject to copyright