DOMESTIC abuse in households with adults suffering from dementia has spiralled in Cheshire East during the pandemic.

Jill Broomhall, the council’s operational director of adult social care, said: “Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse has been particularly challenging during the last year.

“We've seen the effects of the pandemic and isolation on people and we face some tragic consequences of that abuse, especially around carers of family members with dementia and those with very challenging behaviour.”

She said a leaflet had been produced around domestic abuse and older people, within dementia settings, and within family homes.

“It's something that we were aware of previously, but not to the extent that it's come to the fore this year,” Mrs Broomhall told the adults and health committee at its meeting in Sandbach.

The adult social care boss also said safeguarding was a reason why friends and neighbours couldn’t be updated if they were concerned about someone who had gone into care.

She was responding to a question from Cllr Denis Murphy (Congleton East, Lib Dem) who said residents in his ward had expressed concern about someone who had been ill, gone into hospital and then moved into care.

They had tried to find the person, who was a friend, and appeared to have ‘disappeared off the radar completely’.

Mrs Broomhall said she understood the concern but patient confidentiality and welfare of the individual had to come first.

“In every case we would like to help. However, I have to say, we have had some horrendous cases of friends within the community abusing their neighbours - financial abuse in particular,” she said.

“So we are very, very careful around who we speak to. Obviously, if that person themselves says ‘will you please contact this person and give them an update on me’, we will do that.

“But we have to take our lead from that individual.

“I am sorry, and I understand how genuinely caring people would want to know, but we have to maintain the confidentiality and the safety of the individual.”