Coronavirus Response

Community Support: Safeguarding

Good safeguarding is really important. It protects you and the people you want to help. It gives you confidence that you are doing the right thing, and others confidence that you know what you are doing. Good safeguarding, like good health and safety, makes stuff possible. Bad safeguarding, like bad health and safety, gets in the way and makes things worse. Here are some good safeguarding principles to follow when helping the elderly and vulnerable.

1. COMMUNICATE WELL WITH THE PERSON YOU ARE HELPING. Make sure you are meeting a real need that you have been asked to meet. Make sure you understand what is being asked of you, and make sure the person you are helping knows what you are going to do for them. Don’t make assumptions. Listen, and make sure the person has listened to you. Avoid misunderstandings.

2. DON’T GO IT ALONE. Make sure you are working with other people. Try to work in teams. Tell others what you are doing, and ask them for advice. Share good practice and ideas. Ask people, “Is there a better/safer way I could do this?” Be confident in sharing your experience with other people. It could be something as simple as being reminded to tell Mrs X that there’s frozen food in the top of the bag that you’ve left on the doorstep, because last time she forgot and it was wasted!

3. KEEP A LEDGER OF ANYTHING FINANCIAL Always have a second person involved when money is involved – e.g. getting shopping for someone. They shouel record and confirm what you are doing. Write down any way in which you are involved with someone else’s money; give receipts; make sure everything is transparent. This isn’t about a lack of trust—it is about increasing trust because you are doing it right.

4. KEEP A RECORD. This is really important. Keep a written record of what you’ve done. Record the date and time, the person you are helping, what you did, and anything out of the ordinary that you noticed. It doesn’t need to be long but it needs to be complete. There are all sorts of ways this could be useful—It could be vital for medical professionals, for instance. But it also protects you and the person you are helping. It demonstrates that you are safeguarding yourself as well as others. Encourage anyone you are helping to keep their own record of the help they have received.

5. TALK TO FAMILY/FRIENDS. One of the hardest things right now is that people are isolated from their family. Give your contact details and ask them to be passed on to a responsible family member/friend. Someone whom the person trusts. Family may be worried and concerned and maybe feel unable to help; talking to you will give them confidence, and ease their worries that the person might be at risk. You can also get helpful information. People living with dementia or other heath conditions may not be able to tell you exactly what they need.

6. SOCIAL DISTANCING IS YOUR FRIEND. However unnatural, social distancing can help you be good at safeguarding. You will have to find ways of communicating with people that don’t impose upon them. You will have to think creatively about how to support people without being in their personal space. All of this will help you protect others and yourselves.

7. BE AWARE Put safeguarding at the heart of your support. Get aware, get educated, talk about it, test yourselves and others. It isn’t a tick box exercise. Make safeguarding a part of your culture and it will help you offer good support for as long as it takes. You will feel more confident, you will build a better team around you, you will avoid pitfalls that demoralise you and others. And most of all you will keep everyone safe.

More in this category: « How to Help

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Prestwood is a registered charity, no. 1129233.

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