Abuse Of Elderly Soars In Calderdale

REPORTS of assaults on elderly and vulnerable people in Calderdale care homes, hospitals and community settings have almost doubled.

A total of 100 incidents of physical abuse were recorded by the Calderdale Safeguard-ing Adults Board last year compared to 54 between 2006/7, a new report says.

This is despite saying in January 2006 that they would get to grips with the problem.

The report also lists rises of 67 episodes of abuse put down to poor standards of care, up from 41, and 57 relating to financial abuse, a rise of two from 54.

However the figures for cases of neglect stayed the same at 23 and figures for sexual abuse dropped from 18 to 15 and psychological abuse dropped from 32 to 13. The total number of cases rose to 276 cases compared with 222 the previous year.

At a meeting of Calderdale Council’s heath and social care scrutiny panel councillors defended the record saying the rise proved a silent problem had been brought into the open and could now be dealt with more effectively.

Peter Coles, the council’s Older People’s Champion, said: “It is better that incidents are reported and properly investigated rather than being overlooked – that is the only way to put things right.”

He said the figures probably reflect increased access to the reporting system and greater awareness of the problem.

“We have pledged to make Calderdale the safest place in the country for older people but that’s going to take some doing.”

Panel chairman Bob Metcalfe agreed saying: “The rise almost certainly reflects the under reporting of incidents in the past – so it’s a positive sign.”

But Pat Asquith, the deputy chief executive of Care and Support Initiatives, who is also a member of the Safeguarding Adults Board, said the figures were alarming.

“If incidents are being reported then abuse is happening and we need to do something about it.

“I know there is a reluctance among some home owners to report incidents because it isn’t good for business but the support available for dealing with these issues is second to none”

Her concerns were echoed by the council’s head of adult servces, Phil Shires, who said they take all allegations of abuse very seriously and took action where necessary.

“It is down to to the individual circumstances as to how we deal with each but if it involves a care worker, that can lead to disciplinary action or even dismissal,” he said.

Of the 276 cases of abuse reported in 2007/8, 166 related to care homes, compared to 113 the previous year.

Figures show 45 were unfounded or unproven, and 78 happened between residents with mental health problems or learning difficulties.