Seven out of ten reports involving vulnerable adults in Barnsley involved people living in care homes – but that figure is now expected to subside following the introduction of a new policy which prevents cases being flagged up with the authorities unnecessarily.
The annual report of the Barnsley Safeguarding Adults Board – a body made up of services including the council, police and a range of others – reveals 223 incidents were reported by care homes over 12 months, compared to 69 which happened in the person’s home and 10 in the community.
However, care homes have been obliged to report even the most minor incidents, which have been dealt with by staff, such as one resident with dementia throwing an item in the direction of another person.
The BSAB has now told councillors in Barnsley the Care Quality Commission, a watchdog which oversees care homes, has agreed a new protocol which means low level incidents no longer have to be brought to the attention of the authorities, though they are still expected to keep their own paper-trail of what goes off.
BSAB chairman Bob Dyson told councillors at a scutiny meeting: “Care homes have been over reporting their concerns.
“If it is a minor incident, they have reported it when actually it is an incident they could deal with in their home, but we would expect to see an audit trail.
“We have an agreement with the CQC and they would be happy with that scenario. We may see levels of concerns from care homes dropping in the next 12 months,” he said.
Safeguards will remain in place for the regular inspection of homes where the authorities have concerns about the way the businesses are managed and the potential vulnerabilities of those living there.
In extreme cases, that could mean daily visits from outside agencies, with risk assessments being conducted and updated on homes.
The BSAB has also introduced a policy on dealing with self-neglect and hoarding, two problems which can end up interconnected in some cases.
Included in the document is information on how to deal with such situations, which can leave the people involved exposed to risk, and training is being provided for those working in both the public and private sectors, as well as volunteers.
The policy was introduced as a result of an increase in problems with hoarders – people who allow belongings and rubbish to accumulate in their homes to the point where it presents a risk.
A report is due out within days on the circumstances surrounding the death of a Barnsley man in a fire at his home, where hoarding was an issue, though it is not expected to be critical of the authorities.