Neglect is the failure of any person having the responsibility, charge, care or custody of a vulnerable person to provide that degree of care which a reasonable person in a like position would provide.

Neglect can involve intentional or unintentional acts. It includes the unintentional failure of a carer to fulfil their caring role or responsibilities, because of inadequate knowledge or understanding the need for services.

Typical examples of neglect:

  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene or the provision of food, shelter and clothing
  • Failure to provide or access medical intervention for physical and mental health needs this does not include instances in which a person refuses treatment)
  • Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
  • A lack of personal care and/or lack of management of continence
  • Malnutrition
  • Confining to a room on their own
  • Restricting or preventing social contact with friends or relatives
  • Denying access to services.

Possible indicators of neglect

  • A lack of personal care and/or lack of management of continence
  • General deterioration of health
  • Excessive dirt or other health hazards in vulnerable adult's living environment
  • Unsuitable clothing for weather conditions
  • Untreated medical condition
  • Rashes, sores, lice
  • Loss of weight
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Misuse of medication
  • Failure to obtain/ facilitate use of necessary prosthetic devices dentures, glasses, hearing aids, or durable surgical equipment
  • Pressure sores
  • Home environment not conducive to basic health needs, e.g. inadequate heating
  • Consistent lack of supervision, either at home or during activities which hold danger for them
  • Lack of lighting
  • Poor furnishings compared to the rest of the house
  • Dishevelled appearance
  • Lack of appropriate bedding
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