Abuse of the physically and the mentally disabled people in hospitals is one of the most discussed topics in modern times. Government and hospital authorities are working continuously for improving their safeguarding policies and preventing abuse of those people who are vulnerable to abuse. This report states the reasons for people becoming vulnerable to abuse, the risk factors which cause incidents of abuse and analyses the impact of social and cultural factors on different types of abuses.
1.1 Reason Why Individuals And Groups Become Vulnerable To Abuse
Abuse is the ill-treatment or misuse of someone’s looks or skills or disabilities to fulfill one’s own need. A person is vulnerable to abuse when that person is at high risk of being abused (Braye et al. 2012). Several factors make a person vulnerable to abuse.
The first factor, which makes a person vulnerable to abuse, is the physical and the mental disabilities, which restrain people from protecting self and giving a fast response to the abuse. For example, the case study shows that the staff of the Winterbourne View Hospital is continuously assaulting, misbehaving and rudely controlling people who are bound to wheelchairs due to their disabilities. Abusers target homeless people and the people staying away from family since they have no one to take care of them and stand for them and. Homeless people experience various types of abuse including sexual abuse and protest (Brown, 2011). These homeless people face various types of abuse including sexual abuse and mental torture. People even reject proper care to these homeless people. Sometimes people make themselves victims of abuse by trusting people without proper information and knowledge. The case study reveals that the staff of the hospital abuses patients by giving them punishments in the form of cold showers, leaving them outside at freezing cold, pouring mouthwash into patients’ eyes, pulling hairs and forcing them to take medicine.
1.2 Review Of Risk Factors, Which Cause Incidents Of Abuse
Hospital staffs victimize the adults and children mostly for abuse. Hence, this group of people is at the highest point of risk. Patients can face financial risk, social risk, physical and psychological risks. When the hospital staff physiologically abuses a patient, it increases the risk of the patient of being mentally unstable and harming themselves and others (Cambridge et al. 2011). When a person faces anxiety, he or she is at the risk of getting mentally unstable. The case study shows that victims of abuse in the Winterbourne View Hospital were shaking and screaming when they could not take the torture anymore. One patient even tried to commit suicide by jumping out of the second-floor window to escape the torture. All these are signs of mental disorder caused by excessive abuse. Social risk occurs when people have bad company in hospitals. The bad company in hospital arena refers to people having an aggressive and negative attitude towards patients (Carr, 2011). According to the case study, the staff of the Winterbourne View hospital was very aggressive and ill-treated patients by giving them harsh punishments like a cold shower, pouring mouthwash in eyes, leaving patients outside in chilling conditions, pulling hairs, forcing medications in patients' mouth and so on. This increased the risk of the patients being mentally unstable and harming themselves as discussed earlier. Physical risks occur when the hospital staff exposes patients to hazards and accidents. For example, people who cannot move and need the help of others for mobility issues are the ones who face this type of risk largely. In the Winterbourne hospital, the staff behaves harshly and assaults them repeatedly increasing the risk of encouraging these people to harm themselves and others. According to a research, hundreds of deaths and fractures occur in hospitals due to the injuries caused by the risk of harming oneself and others, which are influenced by the ill treatment of the hospital staff (Kcl.ac.uk, 2017).
1.3 Analysis Of Social And Cultural Impact On Different Types Of Abuse
Social factors increase the risk of patients for physical and mental abuse. The homeless people and the ones having no family to take care of them are the ones who face this problem hugely. These people expose themselves to physical abuse, which can be sexual also. According to a report by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, there is a rise of 50% in sexual violence in hospitals since 2011 (The Guardian, 2017).
The cultural beliefs of certain communities of people also increase the risk of harming oneself. Some people strictly follow their religious beliefs and do not come out of these even when there is a need for a medical emergency. For example, some religions restrain women from even talking to men. This increases the risk of the patients' lives when hospitals cannot provide these women with female doctors and hence the patients refrain themselves from being admitted. The personality of a person along with the personal beliefs is a major factor affecting healthcare (Collins, 2010). For example, a person may not allow treatment by someone whom they do not like personally and their religions do not allow them to touch a person of other religion. These factors increase the risk of the patient when the hospital staff leaves them untreated increasing their life risk. The mental health of these patients declines when the hospital staff abuses them of the personal beliefs they possess, which makes them mentally unstable and vulnerable to harm themselves.
Health care centers are places where people go for improving their mental and physical well-being. Abusing patients for their disabilities makes them vulnerable to abuse and encourages harming themselves or others. It is the duty of the hospital staff to behave considerately, listen, and understand the views of their patients to make them feel safe and secured.
Braye, S., Orr, D. and Preston-Shoot, M., 2012. The governance of adult safeguarding: findings from research. The Journal of Adult Protection, 14(2), pp.55-72.
Brown, K., 2011. ‘Vulnerability’: handle with care. Ethics and social welfare, 5(3), pp.313-321.
Cambridge, P., Beadle-Brown, J., Milne, A., Mansell, J. and Whelton, B., 2011. Adult protection:
The processes and outcomes of adult protection referrals in two English local authorities. Journal of Social Work, 11(3), pp.247-267.
Carr, S., 2011. Enabling risk and ensuring safety: self-directed support and personal budgets. The Journal of Adult Protection, 13(3), pp.122-136.
Collins, M., 2010. Thresholds in adult protection. The Journal of Adult Protection, 12(1), pp.4-12.
Kcl.ac.uk. (2017). King's College London - Home. [online] Available at: https://www.kcl.ac.uk [Accessed 17 May 2017].
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