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Neglect and Acts of Omission

Definition of neglect: The failure of any person, who has responsibility for the charge, care or custody of an adult at risk, to provide the amount and type of care that a reasonable person would be expected to provide. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.

Neglect and Acts of Omission includes:

  • Ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs
  • Failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services
  • The withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

The following are also potential indicators of Neglect and Acts of Omission:

  • Poor environmental conditions
  • Inadequate heating and lighting
  • Poor physical condition of the vulnerable adult
  • Clothing is ill-fitting, unclean and in poor condition
  • Malnutrition
  • Failure to give prescribed medication properly
  • Failure to provide appropriate privacy and dignity
  • Inconsistent or reluctant contact with health and social care agencies
  • Isolation – denying access to callers or visitors.

Liverpool Echo: Man left his elderly mum in such squalor she almost died January 2018

An elderly woman was so badly neglected by her son – leaving her covered in bed sores, some down to the bone – that it was feared she would die.

Stephen Dears, 61, was today jailed for 12 months after a judge told him: “It must have been blindingly obvious to you for many weeks that your mother was was simply not coping.”

Liverpool crown court heard that neighbours had raised concerns that he was failing his 82-year-old dementia sufferer mum, Frances, but he allowed her “to remain in her own filth, confusion and bewilderment”.

And when she was taken into hospital her condition was such that when her grandson visited her he thought he had been taken to see the wrong patient.

Dears of Mardale Road, Huyton , had pleaded guilty to causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm. Simon Duncan, prosecuting told the court of a long list of pressure sores and ulcers, some necrotic, found on Mrs Dear’s body, including her back, legs, feet, elbows, ribs and shoulder. Ulcers to her buttocks which went down to the bone and she had soreness due to her incontinence.

The court heard that Mrs Dears had been diagnosed with dementia and when social services had visited her at her home in Barkbeth Road, Huyton on March 15, 2016 she was found to be adequately cared for.

However, Dears, a taxi driver, had got rid of her agency carers and was visiting her twice daily – to feed her but not attend to her hygiene  .He said he only called the ambulance after “noticing she was scratching a hole in her leg.”

Paramedics were called on June 26 2016. Judge Elizabeth Nicholls told Dears: ““The sight and smell that greeted paramedics was undoubtedly shocking. Your mother was sitting on the sofa unresponsive to them in her soiled pyjama bottoms”.

“The injuries were severe and the house was disgraceful. This was not a decline in care over a number of days, it was neglect over many months.”

The court was also told there was hardly hardly any food in the house, and none fresh, one filthy fridge contained out of date food, there were dead flies in the kitchen and upstairs bedroom was covered in old faeces.

At hospital Mrs Dears was found to be dehydrated, incontinent. suffering from delirium because of pneumonia and covered in pressure sores. Doctors feared she would not survive and decided if she deteriorated they would not resuscitate her – but with treatment her condition improved and she was later transferred to a care home.

She died from natural causes in September last year.

Frances Dears was left in her “filthy” home after her son Stephen got rid of carers. He visited the home twice daily to feed her but did not attend to her hygiene

Mr Duncan Brendan Carville, defending, said that Dears had not been in trouble 25 years and fears he may now lose his taxi licence. He sais he had pleaded guilty of the basis of “omissions rather than specific acts”.

Frances Deans recovering in hospital

He had not bathed her as he did not think it fell into his province and he did not attend the funeral because of hostility towards him.”

Age UK: Briefing – The Health and Care of Older People in England 2017

Care Quality Commission

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Prevention Information Sheet: Neglect and Acts of Omission