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Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet an individuals basic and essential needs, either deliberately, or by failing to understand these.

It includes ignoring a person’s needs, or withholding essentials to meet needs, such as medication, food, water, shelter and warmth. This can include acts like not getting enough to eat or ignoring an individuals medical or physical care needs.

Everyone has the right to access the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, clothing, heating, stimulation and activity.

Possible indicators of neglect:

  • poor environment – dirty or unhygienic
  • poor physical condition and/or personal hygiene
  • pressure sores or ulcers (Department of Health pressure ulcer guidance for professionals)
  • malnutrition or unexplained weight loss
  • untreated injuries and medical problems
  • inconsistent or reluctant contact with medical and social care organisations
  • accumulation of untaken medication
  • uncharacteristic failure to engage in social interaction
  • inappropriate or inadequate clothing


Getting help

Care Quality Commission

The independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. They make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.


Mencap offer advice and support to people with a learning disability.

0808 808 1111

Action on Elder Abuse

Action on Elder Abuse work to protect, and prevent the abuse of, vulnerable older adults and by doing so we also protect other adults a risk of abuse. They operate specialist helplines for care providers, providing whistleblowing advice and support to residents, relatives and staff.

080 8808 8141