The purpose of this paper is to update the core data set of self-neglect safeguarding adult reviews (SARs) and accompanying thematic analysis. It also explores whether lessons are being learned from the findings and recommendations of an increasing number of reviews on self-neglect cases.
Further published reviews are added to the core data set, mainly drawn from the websites of safeguarding adults boards (SABs). Thematic analysis is updated using the domains used previously. The domains and the thematic analysis are grounded in the evidence-based model of good practice, reported in this journal previously.
Familiar findings emerge from the thematic analysis and reinforce the evidence-base of good practice with individuals who self-neglect and for policies and procedures with which to support those practitioners working with such cases. Multiple exclusion homelessness and alcohol misuse are prominent. Some SABs are having to return to further cases of self-neglect to review, inviting scrutiny of what is (not) being learned from earlier findings and recommendations.
The national database of reviews commissioned by SABs remains incomplete. The Care Act 2014 does not require publication of reports but only a summary of findings and recommendations in SAB annual reports. National Health Service Digital annual data sets do not enable the identification of reviews by types of abuse and neglect. However, the first national analysis of SARs has found self-neglect to be the most prominent type of abuse and/or neglect reviewed. Drawing together the findings builds on what is known about the components of effective practice, and effective policy and organisational arrangements for practice.
Answering the question “why” remains a significant challenge for SARs. The findings confirm the relevance of the evidence-base for effective practice but SARs are limited in their analysis of what enables and what obstructs the components of best practice. Greater explicit use of research and other published SARs might assist with answering the “why” question. Greater scrutiny is needed of the impact of the national legal, policy and financial context within which adult safeguarding is situated.
The paper extends the thematic analysis of available reviews that focus on study with adults who self-neglect, further reinforcing the evidence base for practice. Propositions are explored, concerned with whether learning is being maximised from the process of case review.
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