Death of couple from neglect leads to changes by Cumbria's Safeguarding Adults Board

Cumbria County Council building in Carlisle
Credit: ITV Border

A review into the death of a couple from neglect by Cumbria County Council has led to changes in how cases are dealt with in the future.

The pair, known only as Pauline and George, had refused help despite both needing extra assistance due to ill health.

They were found dead in their home together when a concerned GP visited.

Cumbria's Safeguarding Adults Board (CSAB) says it has now changed how they will respond to concerns.

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board has now reviewed its Self-Neglect Policy and practice guidance. Credit: ITV Border

The board said that Pauline had care and support needs due to mobility difficulties following a stroke.

Although she could manage some tasks, she was very reliant on George as her carer for many aspects of day-to-day living.

Pauline had a number of falls which increased towards the end of her life. However, the board said that the couple consistently declined any support.

George had his own health needs and when he missed an outpatient appointment, a GP made a home visit where Pauline and George were both found to have died some time previously.

The CSAB have published a Safeguarding Adult Review into the case.

It highlighted a number of issues and ways they can improve:

  • Building relationships and working with resistance to care

  • Working with risk

  • Working across agencies and communities

  • Strategic responses to self neglect

In a statement, the Independent Chair of Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board, Jeanette McDiarmid said:"Concerns relating to self-neglect are highly complex, particularly when an individual has the capacity to make their own independent decisions in respect of their lifestyle and are reluctant to accept help or support from agencies.

"As a result of the issues identified in this case, Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board have reviewed their Self-Neglect Policy and practice guidance which now includes different levels of self-neglect and potential responses.

"The Board will also look at how information sharing and partnership working can be improved.  

"On behalf of the Board, I would like to pass on my condolences to Pauline and George’s family. I would also like to thank family members for their contribution to the review process as this was invaluable to the findings of the case.”