A vulnerable adult safeguarding issue

Posted Tuesday October 03, 2017 by Hazel Durbridge

I am on a campaigning roll at the moment. I once managed a lovely young woman who is now severely disabled with MS.  She got back in contact with me and I try to visit about once every 4-6 weeks.  I have had a lot of responsibility in my life and I don’t want to commit to more than I feel able to sustain.

I am always concerned about the situation I find her in. She was moved to a nice purpose built social housing bungalow, but they did it in one day and nobody took on the responsibility of unpacking her boxes beyond absolute essentials.  They were left in the garage which had a water leak.  I spent the first few visits doing some of this then moved on to the garden.

For months an old sofa was left rotting in the back garden which I could not move on my own. This has finally been moved, but when I went to cut the grass I found a wasps nest in situ which is really a health and safety hazard to her and her neighbours.  I told her she needed to let her social worker know, then decided I really ought to do something myself.


I am emailing because your waiting time on the phone to speak to someone is unmanageable.

I knew this lady when I managed her as …….

She has been back in touch with me recently in her current disabled state from MS and unable to do anything for herself.

I visit her about once a month and try to help her with practical things such as unpacking boxes and doing her garden.

I have a number of concerns.


Her carers do not put out the bins or utilise them correctly.  Every time I visit I am picking up substantial amounts of rubbish from the garden.  This Saturday her bin was overflowing and attracting flies because of the smell as this holds personal waste.  When the bins are full the carers either put the nappy sacks in recycling or garden waste bins or throw them on the ground.  Unsurprisingly she now has a wasps nest in the middle of her back garden which I have advised her to contact her social worker about.

The room and tables that she sits amidst all day are filthy from deposited bits of food.  She tells me that she does not have a cleaner which is pretty obvious.  This is a health hazard in her sedentary state.

I am also concerned about the deterioration in her diet.  She seems to be existing increasingly on sweets and chocolate and has no fresh food at all.  Is it not possible that at least once a week she could be taken to a day care centre and be given nutritious food.  There is nothing wrong with her brain and she would enjoy the company.

X seems to have no family support.  She has a daughter in Milton Keynes who visits rarely, a son Y who was put in care and doesn’t want anything to do with his family and a son Z who lives with his father.  This boy is 12, but there seems to be no attempt to organise access for X to meet with him.  Has this ever been considered?

I am very concerned about X who in spite of everything is generally upbeat and positive.  It seems that nobody is looking at her case in a co-ordinated or overall way.

I would like to be informed about why improvements in her care are not possible.

Yours faithfully


As you can imagine, the social worker was not best pleased that I had gone down a safeguarding route, but then they should have a quicker phone answering service.

She went on the defensive about X having choices and that she could not force her children to visit her which I understand. However, when you are 100% dependent, asking people you rely on to do something differently can be a big ask.  We agreed that

  • a notice could be left for her carers to put the nappies in the correct bin and put the bin out for collection.
  • That there is a handyman service and she could pay for gardening. I tried this but had no response so she may have better luck.
  • That there was no day care service for people under 65, but she could ask if X wanted to reconsider the MS group.
  • The ‘social time’ carer who takes X out might be asked to do some cleaning on the days it is raining or when X doesn’t feel like going out.
  • She will investigate the options for X to have access to the youngest son.
  • We will both speak to X about eating more healthily. Perhaps I can take a pre-prepared meal each time I go.


Let’s see what happens. If she gets to see her youngest son the odd time it will be a bonus.

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