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Hoarding and Self-Neglect


The Care Act 2014 defines self-neglect as wide ranging & covering:

  • 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 involve 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. Self-neglect differs from other safeguarding concerns as there is no perpetrator of abuse, however, abuse cannot be ruled out as a purpose for becoming self-neglectful.

See also the Self-neglect protocol


The Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board has produced a multi-agency Hoarding Protocol (Jan 2022). 

The aim is to serve as a guide and toolkit for professionals and agencies for a more consistent approach in the way in which we jointly identify, assess and coordinate support.

The NHS describes hoarding as a disorder where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter. The items can be of little or no monetary value. The page explains why someone may hoard and the signs to look out for.

An example of hoarding can be viewed in the audio-visual resource from Birmingham Safeguarding Adult Board (running time 13 mins 34 secs).This film is suitable for professionals and non-professionals alike. For people who hoard it raises awareness to show that there is help. For professionals it tackles an issue that is not included in the Care Act 2014 as a category of abuse, but one closely linked to neglect which is covered in the Act. It is a useful resource for professionals to learn about the impact of hoarding on people. 

What to do if you suspect someone is hoarding or displaying self neglect?

The person must always be at the heart of any action to prevent further self-neglect. Consent must always be sought before action is taken – if the person concerned is able to give consent. The key aspects to assess are:

  • Physical Health and Living Conditions
  • Mental Health
  • Financial Issues
  • Personal Endangerment and Danger to Others 

For further information on abuse types and how to refer go to the Recognising Abuse in Adults webpage.

In Bracknell Forest, hoarding is an example where a response may be required under the multi-agency risk framework which has been developed to provide support and guidance on how to manage cases relating to adults where there is a high level of risk but where the circumstances sit outside the statutory adult safeguarding framework.  

Further Information

Silva Homes provides details of their hoarding support group in Bracknell as well as other useful information