6.1 Describe unsafe practices that may affect the well-being of individuals

6.1 Describe unsafe practices that may affect the well-being of individuals

Safeguarding and Protection in Care Settings

Care Learning

5 mins READ

This guide will help you answer The RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 6.1 Describe unsafe practices that may affect the well-being of individuals.

Understanding unsafe practices in health and social care is crucial for safeguarding the well-being of individuals.

In this section, we will explore various unsafe practices, explain why they are hazardous, and outline how they can affect an individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health.

Poor Manual Handling

Incorrect Lifting Techniques

Improper lifting techniques can lead to injuries for both care workers and the individuals they support. If a carer does not use the correct equipment or body positioning, it could result in dropped items or even dropped individuals, leading to bruises, fractures, or other serious injuries.

Inadequate Training

Care workers require proper training on manual handling. Without this training, they might not know the safest methods, increasing the risk of harm to both parties. For instance, trying to lift someone without using a hoist when one is required can result in severe back injuries.

Medication Errors

Wrong Dosages

Administering the incorrect dosage of medication can be life-threatening. For example, too much insulin can cause hypoglycaemia, leading to unconsciousness or even death. Conversely, too little medication could fail to manage a condition properly, worsening an individual’s health.

Confusing Medications

Confusing one medication for another can also be dangerous. For example, mixing up a heart medication with a painkiller can lead to catastrophic health issues, including heart failure or overdose.

Poor Infection Control

Lack of Hand Hygiene

Failing to wash hands properly can spread infections like flu or more serious conditions like MRSA. This practice endangers both the individual receiving care and the community around them.

Improper Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Not using PPE like gloves, masks, and gowns when required increases the risk of spreading harmful pathogens. For instance, not wearing gloves while changing a wound dressing can lead to infections.

Inadequate Record-Keeping

Inaccurate or Missing Information

Poor record-keeping can result in individuals receiving the wrong treatment or dosages. This lack of accurate data can delay critical care interventions and hinder effective communication between healthcare providers.

Confidentiality Breaches

Keeping records secure is vital. Exposing sensitive information can lead to mistrust, stress, and emotional harm for individuals.

Environmental Hazards

Slippery Floors

Unattended wet floors can easily cause slips and falls. These accidents can result in broken bones, head injuries, and even severe trauma, especially for older adults.

Cluttered Pathways

Obstructed pathways present a high risk for trips and falls. Ensuring that spaces are clear and accessible is crucial for preventing injuries.

Poor Nutrition Management

Improper Dietary Planning

Neglecting individual dietary needs can result in malnutrition or exacerbate existing health conditions. For instance, a diabetic individual needs a specific diet to manage blood sugar levels. Failing to adhere to this can lead to severe complications.

Inadequate Monitoring

Not monitoring an individual’s food and fluid intake can result in dehydration or weight loss, seriously impacting their well-being.

Emotional and Psychological Mismanagement


Emotional neglect can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Individuals require emotional support to maintain mental well-being. Consistent neglect may lead to more severe mental health issues.


Physical, emotional, or verbal abuse has devastating impacts on an individual’s well-being. Abuse can result in feelings of worthlessness, severe emotional trauma, and physical injuries.

Poor Communication

Misunderstanding Needs

Failing to communicate effectively with individuals can result in unmet needs and increased frustration. Misunderstanding someone’s needs can lead to inappropriate care actions which fail to address their specific requirements.

Lack of Listening

Not listening to the concerns of individuals can make them feel disregarded and insignificant. This can severely affect their mental health and lead to a lack of trust in the care providers.

Unsafe Use of Equipment

Faulty or Improper Equipment

Using equipment that is either faulty or not designed for a specific purpose can cause harm. For example, using an incorrect wheelchair for an individual can result in poor posture or pressure sores.

Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance of all care-related equipment is necessary to ensure safety. Neglecting this can result in malfunction during use, causing injuries or health issues for the individual.

Inadequate Safeguarding Measures

Failure to Report Concerns

Ignoring or failing to report safeguarding concerns can leave individuals in vulnerable positions. This lack of action could result in continued abuse or neglect.

Inadequate Staff Training

If staff are not trained properly on safeguarding practices, they might not recognise or respond appropriately to signs of abuse or neglect. This can leave individuals at increased risk.

Example answers for unit 6.1 Describe unsafe practices that may affect the well-being of individuals

Example Answer 1: Poor Manual Handling

In my role, I’ve seen how poor manual handling can affect the well-being of individuals. If we don’t follow the correct lifting techniques, we risk injuring both ourselves and the people we care for. For instance, I remember a colleague tried to lift a resident without using a hoist, even though it was needed. The resident almost fell and could have been seriously hurt. This unsafe practice can cause physical harm, like back injuries for caregivers and falls or fractures for residents.

Example Answer 2: Medication Errors

Medication errors are another unsafe practice that can significantly impact an individual’s well-being. I’ve witnessed a situation where a colleague administered the wrong dosage of a medication because they didn’t double-check the prescription. This led to the individual feeling very unwell and needing medical attention. Incorrect dosages can cause severe health issues, from mild side effects to life-threatening conditions like heart failure or overdose.

Example Answer 3: Poor Infection Control

I have seen how poor infection control practices can endanger everyone. For example, not washing hands properly or neglecting to wear gloves and masks can spread infections like flu or MRSA. Once, a carer ignored hand hygiene rules and ended up spreading a stomach bug to several residents and staff members. This not only caused physical illness but also increased stress and anxiety among the residents and their families.

Example Answer 4: Inadequate Record-Keeping

Inaccurate or missing information in care records can lead to dangerous outcomes. I encountered a situation where an individual’s medication chart was not updated, and they almost received a double dose. Proper record-keeping is essential to ensure safe and effective care. When records are not maintained properly, it can delay critical care interventions and confuse healthcare providers, putting the individual’s well-being at risk.

Example Answer 5: Poor Communication

Effective communication is critical in our work. I remember a time when a resident’s dietary needs were not properly communicated to the kitchen staff, leading to the resident receiving food that was not suitable for their condition. This caused the resident a lot of distress and could have led to serious health problems. Poor communication like this can result in unaddressed needs, frustration, and even medical emergencies.

Example Answer 6: Unsafe Use of Equipment

Using equipment safely is crucial. I recall an incident where a colleague used a faulty wheelchair for a resident. The wheelchair wasn’t properly maintained and collapsed while in use, causing the resident to fall and injure themselves. This unsafe practice put the resident at risk and highlighted the importance of regular equipment checks. Ensuring all equipment is in working order is vital for the safety and well-being of those we care for.


Understanding and identifying unsafe practices is vital in the care sector. Unsafe practices can have severe physical, emotional, and psychological impacts on individuals. By recognising and mitigating these risks, carers can ensure they provide a safe and supportive environment for all individuals under their care.

Always adhere to best practices, maintain up-to-date training, and report any concerns immediately to safeguard the well-being of everyone in a care setting.

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