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Care home nurses asked to speak out on expertise and abuse

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The government is consulting on a review of No Secrets, its guidance on protecting vulnerable adults from abuse

The consultation paper, Safeguarding Adults: A Consultation on the Review of the ‘No Secrets’ Guidance, covers a wide canvas including domestic violence and sex offenders in the community.

Care homes have been linked with aspects of adult abuse. But the document is clear that abuse can happen anywhere – in people’s own homes and in hospitals too. It says: ‘In our listening events we commonly heard that “the NHS is in denial”... a common perception was that “abuse is something that happens in care homes... it is not an NHS issue”.’

In fact, care homes are also champions for adults who are vulnerable and are experts in their care. Safeguarding Adults acknowledges that the Commission for Social Care Inspection has asked care homes to monitor hospitals that are discharging patients with serious pressure ulcers. So it is well worth care home nurses speaking up.

A key question for care homes concerns leadership. With so many agencies involved, national and local leadership are blurred – something with which care home nurses may be familiar.

The document asks: ‘Where should leadership for safeguarding in the care home sector lie? What can be done to strengthen this?’. It also asks if laws like those for protecting children who are vulnerable are needed or whether a change in culture is more important.

Safeguarding Adults can be found at dh.gov.uk. The closing date for responses is 31 January 2009.

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