Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse
Intended for healthcare professionals

Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse

Anita Duffy Nurse tutor, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Dublin, Republic of Ireland; adjunct lecturer in nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To gain insight into the challenges, for nurses, of preventing and addressing adult abuse

  • To understand where you can access further support, advice and training on adult safeguarding

  • To contribute towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse presents complex ethical challenges. By knowing what counts as adult abuse, recognising the signs of adult abuse and appropriately addressing suspected adult abuse, nurses contribute to protecting patients’ safety, well-being, autonomy and dignity. This article discusses categories and indicators of adult abuse, relevant legislation and standards, the principles of adult safeguarding and the key elements of a nursing assessment of suspected adult abuse. The author highlights that nurses need to approach safeguarding concerns sensitively and strike a balance between acting to safeguard the person and preserving their right to autonomy. There is a need for ongoing education and training to enhance nurses’ understanding of safeguarding practices, legislation, policies and standards.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12170

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Duffy A (2024) Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12170

Published online: 15 January 2024

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