The British Medical Association has published a toolkit that provides practical advice to doctors on promoting and protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable adults. Although principally aimed at GPs, any professional working in health care settings with vulnerable adults will find it useful.
The term “vulnerable adults” covers an extremely wide range of individuals, some of whom may be incapable of looking after any aspect of their lives and others who may be experiencing short periods of illness or disability with an associated reduction in their ability to make decisions.
The toolkit highlights the obligation doctors have to protect vulnerable adults, including identifying abusers, identifying systemic healthcare failures and reporting poor performance by health professionals. It includes examples of good practice and signposts key guidance, relevant legislation and useful names and addresses.
The guidance covered includes:
- What is safeguarding?
- Which adults may be vulnerable?
- What part does mental capacity play in safeguarding?
- What information can be shared about vulnerable adults?
- What constitutes abuse and neglect?
- When should concerns about patient safety be reported?