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The only problem with the law relating to vulnerable adults is the lack of resources. Discuss. Introduction A vulnerable adult is a person over the age of sixteen who is unable to protect or take care of themselves

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Contents Page Question 2 Introduction 2 Care in the community 2 Old Age 3 Residential Accommodation 4 Mental Health 6 Conclusion 7 Bibliography 8 Question The only problem with the law relating to vulnerable adults is the lack of resources. Discuss. Introduction A vulnerable adult is a person over the age of sixteen who is unable to protect or take care of themselves. This may be due to a number of reasons; > Illness > Physical disability > Mental illness > Drug/alcohol dependency > Old age The Children Act 1989 provides social workers and local authorities with a clear legal framework to operate within, with the welfare checklist being of significant importance. This Act was passed in order to consolidate and simplify existing child care legislation, however in the category of vulnerable adults there is still no unifying statute but instead, fragmented legislation that can be hard to locate and implement effectively. Therefore the skill, knowledge, experience and sensitivity of the social worker and other care providers is crucial. Community care and mental health legislation govern the provision of services in this area although the Law is developing rapidly by the frequent issuing of regulations and guidance which further complicates the situation and leaves health care professionals confused as to what the correct duties and obligations are placed on them to fulfil. Clear, specific written policies are important as they provide a framework that clarifies the responsibilities of individuals and agencies that may be involved. Due to the variety of different agencies involved in the protection of vulnerable adults, it is easy in the current position to be confused as to who is responsible for what and consequently many people 'slip through the net'. ...read more.


As with most of the laws relating to adults, much discretion is left to the local authority. For instance the NAA 1948 (Choice of Accommodation) Directions 1992 was introduced in order to empower adults to choose what accommodation they wish to be placed in, subject to certain conditions, however they are only prepared to pay a specified amount. So consequently unless the extra is paid by a third party, that freedom of choice is taken away due to financial implications. Residential Care is also often offered as a cheaper alternative to 24hour home care (R v Lancashire County Council ex parte Ingham 1995) as it is at the local authorities discretion. Given the choice, most people would prefer to stay in their own home, which makes it difficult for the social worker to balance their core social work values of anti-oppressive practice, partnership and empowerment with financial implications and the need to act in the best interests of the service user. Depriving an adult of their liberty is not to be taken lightly although in some instances it is necessary for their own health, safety or the safety of others, s47 of the NAA provides for this. Because of this, compulsory removals are only carried out wherever absolutely necessary and it is the job of the social worker to find alternative ways to support them in the home environment. The quality of care in residential homes is also of major significance, as the vulnerability of people in residential care is often exploited by employees abuse and neglect. The Care Standards Act 2000 was introduced to replace the outdated Registered Homes Act 1984 in an attempt to 'put in place a regulatory system that will ensure the delivery of quality services, proper accountability by the provider and flexibility to respond to developments in the healthcare field' (Burchell 2000a) ...read more.


vulnerable adults, they constantly have to question their own judgement and have to make sure they listen to the service users view. They have to know when a person has the capacity to make their own decision and when they are incapable by reason, for instance, of mental illness.. Legislation by itself cannot protect people, it is the lack of resources i.e. funding, human resources, services such as meals on wheels, transport and support groups that is a major contributing factor in the failing to adequately help vulnerable adults. Currently , social workers knowledge of the existence and content of policies, regulations and guidelines is extremely variable due to the complex, fragmented legislation and the frequent issuing of new duties and powers. There is a severe lack of specialist staff and regular and advanced training is not being provided due to Local Authorities budgetary restraints, which in turn has a knock on effect and results in lack of recognition and awareness of the extent of some adults vulnerability. Social workers are still the lowest paid group when compared with nurses, teachers and police officers and across the public services, social services are given a low budgetary priority. There are huge recruitment and retention problems and burnout rates are high. Cutbacks are constant and support services are constantly being reduced. Thresholds for accessing much needed services are constantly increased to try and reduce high workloads but all this leads to is vital preventative work not being done. However the vulnerability of adults is exacerbated by the lack of clear legislation and therefore I think that not only does the lack of resources hinder the correct application of the law but also the ambiguity of the law also contributes to the lack of resources. ...read more.

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