A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 or over who is, or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. (Department of Health, 2000)
A key factor is whether the individual is able to take steps to protect and promote his or her interests. Adults lacking capacity to make decisions that would protect and promote their own interests are potentially extremely vulnerable.
Adults lacking capacity should be at liberty to participate as far as possible in decision-making, and express their views, emphasis should shift to ensuring that decisions made on patients’ behalf promote their overall best interests. (British Medical Association, 2011)
- Adult social care is responsible for receiving and processing safeguarding investigations from all partner agencies, wherever they arise.
- Partner agencies will have in place a procedure to recognise, record and report a safeguarding alert.
- Staff in all partner agencies have a duty to report immediately any safeguarding allegations or suspicions of abuse to their line manager.
- An alert is escalated to the named adult social care manager as a safeguarding referral within 24 hours where:
- there is evidence that abuse has taken place, or
- there is a suspicion based on professional judgement that a vulnerable adult is at risk.
- Department of Health (2000) No Secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. London, Department of Health. View this document
- British Medical Association (2011) Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults – A toolkit for General Practitioners, p33. London, British Medical Association. View this document