Abuse can happen anywhere anytime, but especially to vulnerable people, ie Children, elderly people, people with disabilities, people with learning difficulties. It can even happen in places people should be safe, ie hospitals, residential/ nursing homes, schools, daycare/ nurseries, centers, etc. I researched two cases reported for abuse. The Winterbourne case which was nationally reported, and a local abuse case of Orme house in Lowestoft. The Winterbourne case was more physical and emotional abuse and the Orme house case was more neglect and poor living conditions.
The Winterbourne case was reported nationally because it was such disgusting mistreatment of vulnerable people, 11 members of staff were caught on CCTV after visitors and patients complained about mistreatments. The evidence that was captured showed physical abuse such as, slapping, poking eyes, pulling hair, even as unbelievable as trapping them under chairs and soaking residents in freezing cold water. It also showed emotional and verbal abuse in the form of name-calling.
This was inhumane and diabolic mistreatment of vulnerable individuals unable to defend themselves. Winterbourne appears to have made decisions based on profits and returns, over and above decisions about the effective and humane delivery of assessments and treatments. Where were the staff who should have been reporting these crimes to management, if management was not listening then they should have been reported to the authorities and organizations, such as social services and CQC that is what they are there for?
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The staff who didn`t abuse patients but didn`t report the incidents are just as abusive and responsible, as they were employed to help with patient’s welfare, in turning a blind eye they failed to put the best interest of the patient first. The Orme house case was locally reported due to neglect, residents were sleeping on dirty, infested mattresses and eating takeaways provided due to lack of food on the premises. Poor health and safety, and health and hygiene conditions were due to untrained/poorly trained staff and working under staff. Residents were taken to other residential homes in the area and Orme house was closed down.
In both cases, there does not appear to have been a governing staff body taking a stand and putting a stop to these behaviors, and no-one reported anything to the governing body CQC (care quality commission) or social services until significant harm had already come to the residents of both these care homes. If these homes had a governing member of staff to ensure all care standards are met, where was their accountability. CQC is the governing body for all health and social care settings, they set out care standards and legislations and requirements that are to be met in each setting.
These requirements and standards are normally brought into place by using company policies and procedures, to protect all parties they may vary slightly, but all have to comply with the standards set out in legislation. There are a number of agencies that work together to ensure staff is vetted. The government commissioned the Bichard inquiry (2002) and it looked at the way recruitment was carried out, the inquiry led to the safeguarding vulnerable groups act 2006 and the vetting and barring schemes.
Which are run by the independent safeguarding authority (ISA) they work with the criminal records bureau(CRB) and protection of vulnerable adults/children (POVA/POCA) lists 99 to access anyone who wants to work with vulnerable groups. There is also the health and safety act 1974 and a number of health and environmental laws that should of been adhered to under the health and social care act 2008, every employer and employee has a duty of care to ensure a safe working and living environment for all staff and residents to which in these cases staff at both care homes failed.