Trafford Strategic Safeguarding Partnership

Self-neglect and hoarding

The Care Act 2014 defines self-neglect as wide ranging & covering:

  • Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene
  • Neglecting to care for one’s health
  • Neglecting to care for one’s surroundings
  • Hoarding which can include:
  • Inanimate objects (commonly clothes, newspapers, books, DVDs, letters & food/packaging)
  • Animals
  • Data

Hoarding in this case is described as the excessive collection & retention of any material to the point that it impedes day to day functioning.

This could also involve refusal of services, treatment, assessments or intervention, which could potentially improve self-care or care of one’s environment. There are other less overt forms of self – neglect such as: eating disorders; misuse of substance; and alcohol abuse. Self-neglect differs from other safeguarding concerns as there is no perpetrator of abuse, however, abuse cannot be ruled out as a purpose for becoming self-neglectful.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has a very useful information page.

Self-neglect can happen as a result of an individual’s choice of lifestyle, or the person may

  • be depressed,
  • have poor health,
  • have cognitive (memory or decision making) problems, or
  • be physically unable to care for self.

Self-neglect includes:

  • Living in grossly unsanitary conditions
  • Suffering from an untreated illness, disease or injury
  • Suffering from malnutrition to such an extent that, without an intervention, the adult’s physical or mental health is likely to be severely impaired.
  • Creating a hazardous situation that will likely cause serious physical harm to the adult or others or cause substantial damage to or loss of assets, and
  • Suffering from an illness, disease or injury that results in the adult dealing with his or her assets in a manner that is likely to cause substantial damage to or loss of the assets.

The Self-Neglect toolkit is availble here.