On the 4th December 2019, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) published the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019.
Through the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019, HIQA and MHC have recognised the importance of increasing the quality and safety of services for all adults in Ireland, especially those who may be at risk of harm. The National Standards allow for a consistent approach to preventing and responding to harm if it does occur and outline a way of working for health and social care services and support the development of a culture where safeguarding is embedded into practice rather than being viewed as a separate activity. The National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019 are not intended to replace existing standards and frameworks.
Who are the Standards applicable to?
The National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019 are applicable to the following services:
- Residential services for older people
- People with disabilities.
- Publicly funded health and social care services.
- Mental Health Services.
What are the key principles underpinning the Standards?
Six key principles underpin the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019. These principles are:
- Empowerment – Residents must be empowered to protect themselves from risks of harm and to direct how they live their lives in accordance to their will and preferences.
- Rights-based Approach – Residents rights must be promoted and protected at all times. The rights-based approach is grounded in human rights and equality law.
- Proportionality – Staff must take proportionate action which is the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk. Staff must ensure they take into account of residents’ will and preferences.
- Prevention – The service must be responsible to ensure action is taken before harm occurs.
- Partnership – In order for safeguarding to be effective, services, residents and those who are involved in their care work together to recognise the potential for, and to prevent, harm.
- Accountability – Services must be accountable for the care and support they deliver and for the safeguarding of residents.
What is the purpose of the Standards?
The purpose of the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019 is outlined as follows:
- To offer a common language that describes adult safeguarding.
- To help residents to understand what they should expect from a service committed to promoting their rights, health and wellbeing and protecting them from the risk of harm.
- To enable a person-centred approach by focusing on the residents and placing residents at the centre of everything that the service does.
- To create a basis for services to improve the way in which they promote the rights, health and wellbeing of residents.
- To help to reduce harm and respond to harm when it does occur by identifying strengths and highlighting areas for improvement.
- To promote practice to ensure it is up to date, effective and consistent.
What are the themes within the Standards?
Similar to previous National Standards published by HIQA, the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019 are divided into eight (8) themes, those being:
- Theme 1: Person-centred Care and Support
- Theme 2: Effective Care and Support
- Theme 3: Safe Care and Support
- Theme 4: Health, Wellbeing and Development
- Theme 5: Leadership, Governance and Management
- Theme 6: Responsive Workforce
- Theme 7: Use of Resources
- Theme 8: Use of Information
Health Information and Quality Authority and Mental Health Commission (2019). National Standards for Adult Safeguarding. Dublin: Health Information and Quality Authority and Mental Health Commission.
Health Information and Quality Authority and Mental Health Commission (2019b). Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the National Standards for Safeguarding [online]. Available: https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2019-12/National-Standards-for-Adult-Safeguarding_FAQs.pdf