Safeguarding and prevention

Self-neglect and hoarding

BSL Support

Adults who are reluctant or do not engage with services can have complex and diverse needs that often fall between different agencies.

Self-neglect can cover a wide range of behaviours such as neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

The adults’ needs are generally long standing and recurring and may frequently put themselves and others a high risk.

Managing the balance between protecting adults at risk from self-neglect or hoarding behaviours against their right to self-determination is a serious challenge for services.

Working with people who are difficult to engage can be exceptionally time consuming and stressful for all concerned.

A failure to engage with people who are not looking after themselves, whether they have mental capacity or not, can:

  • Have serious implications for the health and well-being
  • Damage the reputations of the local authority or health agencies involved.

Self-neglect and hoarding behaviours can put neighbours, family and animals at risk of harm with the risk of fires, gas and water leaks and infestations spreading.

Self-Neglect and Hoarding Protocol

The Self-Neglect and Hoarding Protocol offers guidance on how the needs or presenting problems of difficult to engage adults who hoard or self-neglect should be addressed.

The guidance is for operational staff and managers.

It suggests multi-agency partnership working to determine the most favourable approach for achieving engagement with the adult in need.

Professional research and presentations

SCIE self neglect managers briefing (PDF)

Self neglect as a safeguarding concern. implications for SABs (PowerPoint)

SCR and SAR presentation - Adults who self-neglect (PowerPoint)

British psychological society hoarding (Word)

Contact details for key services and organisations

Contact details for key services and organisation (Word)