Self Neglect

What is Self-Neglect?

  • The Care Act 2014 identifies Self Neglect as a safeguarding responsibility and defines self-neglect as covering a wide range of behaviours such as:
    • Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene
    • Neglecting to care for one’s health
    • Neglecting to care for one’s surroundings
    • Hoarding
  • This could also include the refusal of services, treatment, assessments or intervention, which could potentially improve self-care or care of one’s environment. There are other less overt forms of self – neglect such as: eating disorders; misuse of substance; and alcohol abuse.
  • Some cases of self-neglect may solely be due to disability or inability and therefore may not require further enquiries to be made, if an assessment and care and support plan would meet those needs

4LSAB Self Neglect Policy and Resources

When an adult who may have needs for care and support appears to be at risk of self-neglect, and may be refusing care and support or whose self-neglecting behaviours pose a risk to others, it can be difficult for practitioners or concerned carers, friends/family members, to understand how statutory duties and legal powers could be applied to improve the Adult’s situation. The following policy and resources have been developed to provide guidance practitioners on how to work with individuals who are identified as suffering from self neglect:


What is Hoarding?

  • Hoarding is the excessive collection & retention of any material to the point that it impedes day to day functioning. This can include:
    • Inanimate objects (commonly clothes, newspapers, books, DVDs, letters & food/packaging)
    • Animals
    • Data

What symptoms and behaviours to look out for?

  • Inability to throw things away
  • Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
  • Indecision about where to put things or what to keep
  • Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed about their possessions
  • Suspicion of other people touching items
  • Obsessive thoughts and actions: fear of running out of an item or of needing it for the future
  • Functional impairments such as the loss of living space, becoming isolated from family and friends, financial difficulties, health hazards in the home

4LSAB Multi-agency Hoarding Guidance

You can find more information about hoarding and support for people who hoard at the following websites:

What to do if you are concerned about someone:

  • Telephone Adult Social Care Connect:  023 8083 3003
  • Police: 101 or in an emergency 999

Did you know 1 in 4 people with OCD also participate in compulsive hoarding