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Elder Abuse: How Comfort Keepers SafeGuards Against It

Following the interest in our ‘Open Your Eyes to Elder Abuse’ article two weeks ago, we would like to show you how Comfort Keepers acts to minimise the risk of elder abuse and how we react if we suspect that elder abuse, in any shape or form, is occurring.  Thankfully, Elder Abuse is rare but that does not mean it doesn’t happen and it is something we take very seriously.

When one thinks of abuse, most people might think of physical abuse or sexual abuse.  However, when we think a little deeper, it is evident that abuse can take many forms. For example, passive abuse is something that can happen, perhaps unintentionally, if a person becomes overwhelmed, is uninformed or has poor communication skills.  There are a number of forms of elder abuse and these include physical, financial, psychological, neglect, sexual and discrimination.

Looking out for elder abuse

While physical abuse can have the obvious signs of cuts or bruising, emotional or other abuse does not display so readily. Symptoms that we look out for include a disruption in sleeping patterns, change of mood or lack of confidence, change to toileting behaviours or if eating habits alter. Of course, these changes may be due to other factors such as for medical reasons however this is always checked.

At Comfort Keepers, we have a number of safeguards in place:

  1. Employee training: Our carers are trained on recognising the signs of Elder abuse and of the internal protocol we have in place in this regard. The Oncall team staff members also receive this training so that at weekends and out of hours we can provide safe and effective care to our clients.
  2. Journal records: Comfort Keepers carers record each visit in a journal for each individual client. It provides a brief synopsis of the care given on each visit and a record of any changes or observations to the client, however minor.  These journals are checked by a Client Care Manager regularly.  Any changes noted are taken seriously by the Client Care Manager and any issues of concern will be addressed in a timely fashion.
  3. Incident Forms: Carers record any isolated incidents in incident forms, which are then sent straight to their Client Care Manager.
  4. Client Care Manager Visits:  As part of the care package agreed, a client care manager or reviewer visits the client on a regular basis. Depending on the level of care, these visits are either monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. This visit has many purposes, two of which are to review the care package and also to work as a safeguard.
  5. Unified Approach: Comfort Keepers work closely with the HSE and the public health nurse in the client’s locality.  The Senior Case Worker in the HSE is contacted if there are any suspicions of abuse.
  6. Client Satisfaction Survey: We conduct this survey twice per year and any feedback on this that raises concerns will be dealt with by management and in conjunction with the HSE.
  7. Whistleblower Policy: Comfort Keepers have a designated whistleblower contact within the company so if any carer has any concerns at all, they know they have someone to confide in.

Our clients’ health and care is our priority and we do our utmost to ensure they are well cared for at all times.  It is our policy to report any suspicions and this is always done in good faith and in the clients best interests.  If you have any questions about our care policies, please feel free to contact us.

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