Safeguarding in Care: Is It Really the Best Choice?

Safeguarding in Care: Is It Really the Best Choice?
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Navigating the landscape of care for our elderly loved ones can feel like a daunting task. With a myriad of options available, such as in-home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, families often grapple with the question of where their elders will receive the best care. Amongst these options, safeguarding units have gained popularity as places that provide specialised care and attention for individuals with severe cognitive impairments, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. But is the reality as hopeful as the promise?

Understanding Safeguarding in Care

Safeguarding units, often referred to as secure units, are designed to provide a safe and monitored environment for individuals who may be at risk to themselves, particularly those prone to wandering or who require a high level of intervention and supervision. This type of care is usually implemented in a separate wing or floor of a facility, with strict protocols to ensure the well-being and protection of its residents. Check out this Safeguarding in care homes.

The Upsides of Safeguarding Units

Enhanced Security and Safety Protocols

The most apparent benefit of a safeguarding unit is the security it provides. With round-the-clock monitoring, secure access points, and trained staff, the risk of residents wandering off into potentially dangerous situations greatly diminishes. For families with loved ones who have a history of wandering, this level of security offers peace of mind that is often hard to come by.

Specialized Care for High-Needs Residents

Safeguarding units typically provide a specialized team equipped to handle the unique challenges posed by high-needs residents. From tailored activities and therapies to a higher staff-to-resident ratio, the care provided is often more rigorous and attentive than what can be achieved in less specialized facilities.

Community Integration in a Safe Environment

Despite the restrictive nature, many safeguarding units offer some level of community integration within the facility. Residents can often participate in scheduled outings or mingle with others in similarly secure areas, promoting social interaction and a sense of community within the bounds of their safety.


The Downside of Safeguarding Units

The Balance of Safety and Quality of Life

While the primary focus of safeguarding units is the safety of their residents, there is often a question of the quality of life within these confines. The restrictive nature can lead to a loss of freedom and independence that some argue is detrimental to the well-being of the individual.

Staff Burnout and Turnover

Providing care within safeguarding units can be emotionally and physically demanding for staff, leading to higher rates of burnout and turnover. This can undermine the consistency and quality of care that residents receive despite the unit’s stated goals.

Stifling of Personal Autonomy and Dignity

The stringent security measures in place, such as locked doors and key codes, can inadvertently infringe on the personal autonomy and dignity of residents. Questions arise about whether the protective environment is excessively confining and at odds with what’s best for the residents’ dignity and mental well-being.

Choosing the Right Level of Care

Determining whether a safeguarding unit is the right choice for your loved one depends on a multitude of factors, including the individual’s needs and preferences, the family’s level of involvement, and the resources available. It’s essential to conduct thorough research, visit prospective facilities, and engage in open communication with care providers to make an informed decision.

Alternatives to Safeguarding Units

For those hesitant about the confinement of safeguarding units, alternative care options exist that aim to strike a balance between safety and freedom. Some facilities offer memory care units with innovative design features and monitoring techniques that allow for a less restrictive environment. In-home care with the use of modern technologies, community-based programs, and assisted living communities with progressive approaches can also provide the needed supervision within a more home-like setting.

Nurturing a Culture of Compassionate Care

Ultimately, the effectiveness of any care arrangement hinges on the compassion, skill, and dedication of the providers. Whether within a safeguarding unit or another care setting, the human element is paramount. Families should look towards facilities and providers that prioritize not only the safety and medical needs of their residents but also their overall well-being and dignity.



Safeguarding units play a pivotal role in the continuum of care available to those with complex needs. Their rigidity can provide necessary structures for those at higher risk, but it has its trade-offs. Families must carefully weigh the pros and cons, keeping their loved one’s best interests at the forefront. In the end, the right care option fosters a sense of safety, dignity, and the highest possible quality of life for older people, working to ensure that their twilight years are as secure and fulfilling as possible.


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