Protecting Staff from Harm or Abuse Policy


It is important for Cavendish Homecare Professionals to identify times when carers or nurses are at most risk from harm from a client, and to make sure that support plans are put in place to keep them safe.


Sometimes the behaviour of the person being cared for, intentionally or not, can fall into the category of abuse. Recognition, reporting and responding to carers at risk of harm in these circumstances can be challenging and can be complicated by denial, guilt, or sense of shame in asking for help.

The Care Act 2014 puts much greater emphasis on the importance of the caring role and need for carers and nurses to be properly supported.

Where abuse of carers is alleged or suspected, directly as a result of their caring role, the Safeguarding Adults procedure should be followed.

Risk of abuse can increase where the carer is isolated and not getting practical and/or emotional support from professionals and / or family and friends.

Carer or nurse abuse or harm is more likely to occur when communication and relationships are difficult and in particular where any of the following issues apply regarding the person being cared for

  • Has health and care needs that exceed the carer or nurses’ ability to meet them; especially where this has gone on for a long time
  • Does not consider the needs of the carer or nurse
  • Treats the carer or nurse with a lack of respect or courtesy
  • Rejects help and support from outside; including breaks
  • Refuses to be left alone at any time
  • Has control over financial resources, property and living arrangements
  • Engages in abusive, aggressive or frightening behaviours
  • Has a history of substance misuse, unusual or offensive behaviours
  • Does not understand how what they do has an impact on their carer or nurse
  • Is angry about their situation and seeks to punish others for it
  • Has sought help or support but did not meet thresholds for this

Such risk factors tend to be greater where the carer or nurse lives with a person with dementia. Pan-London procedures recognise that a carer or nurse may also be an adult at risk.

Management duties

Timely and careful assessment is important. In these circumstances, the focus of local safeguarding work invariably covers needs for support on both parts. This may include exploration of capacity for change in order to decrease the risk of further harm. Information and advocacy support may help. With a progressive disease carers and nurses are often faced with escalating demands. These may include emotional and physical burdens and having to cope with behavioural and personality changes that are of concern. Carers or nurses can become “hidden victims” of abuse from the client or their family and friends.

Carers and nurses have rights and Cavendish Homecare Professionals management has a responsibility to respect and to inform carers and nurses about them.

The dividing line between insensitivity, rudeness, outbursts and physical abuse and the threshold for safeguarding is far from clear. The sorts of behaviours from clients that in some circumstances may place carers of nurses at risk of harm might include:

  • Deliberately ignoring or not listening to carers or nurses
  • Being dismissive
  • Consistent failure to recognise or respond to carers or nurses who seek to share their concerns or needs with other professionals
  • Exploiting feelings of disempowerment
  • Arguing in front of carers about agency responsibilities or funding so that they are an object of discussion, excluded, distressed or feel humiliated
  • Excessive emphasis on the requirements of “confidentiality”, within mental health and other areas, notwithstanding guidance on these issues, that may place carers or nurses at serious risk of harm
  • Poor management systems, weak care monitoring, lac of supervision and leadership mean that what happens is not picked up or recognised.


At Cavendish Homecare Professionals:

  • All new staff will be required to read and understand this policy and will be encouraged to share any concerns regarding their patient as soon as issues arise.



Date: January 2024

Version: 5 (Review)