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    Health home > Ageing and Aged Care in Victoria > Publications & resources > Hoarding and squalor  
 

Hoarding and squalor

Page content: Overview | Defining hoarding and squalor | Effective intervention | Hoarding and squalor publications... | Obtaining copies... | Further information | Downloads

Overview

The Department of Health is aware of issues affecting a broad range of service providers when responding to situations involving hoarding behaviour and squalid living environments. The department acknowledges that these cases are complex and progress can be slow, with many not reaching a resolution. An objective may be to ensure the safety for the person concerned and their dependants and to minimise risk.

Such circumstances are challenging for the individual, their families and neighbours as well as for the services that respond to such cases. By services working together, effective response and understanding will develop over time, which in turn will provide improved outcomes for the people and animals living in these conditions.

Defining hoarding and squalor

People of all ages including children, may hoard or live in squalor and can be found in any type of housing, living situation or environment. Circumstances surrounding cases involving hoarding and squalor are not defined by financial means nor a person’s standing in the community.

  • Hoarding is recognised as a diagnosable, and treatable, behavioural mental health condition
  • Squalor describes a living environment
  • Prolonged or extreme hoarding may lead to squalor.

Hoarding behaviour and squalid living environments can pose a number of associated problems and concerns in a person's life which may involve laws, policies and living requirements in areas as diverse as:

  • personal safety
  • fire risk
  • mental health
  • disability
  • child protection
  • animal protection
  • sanitation
  • physical health
  • housing
  • building safety.

Effective intervention

Effective intervention requires professionals from a broad range of private and public sectors involved in people, animal and building services to:

  • work collaboratively (across sectors) with other services when planning a service response
  • ensure the current and future health and safety of the person, their family and animals are being addressed
  • meet legal, regulatory and ethical requirements.

Hoarding and squalor publications to assist service provision (June 2013)

A specific project in 2012 - 2013 developed two hoarding and squalor publications drawing on a range of sources including the expertise of Victorian service providers who have developed good practice approaches in working with people, their families, carers or neighbours affected by such cases.

The two publications are:

1. Responding to hoarding and squalor - key messages

The hoarding and squalor key messages statement was developed to provide basic key messages to all service providers to consider and act upon when they receive referrals or come across situations involving hoarding or squalor. The publication highlights the following aspects:

  • responding to hoarding and squalor
  • defining hoarding and squalor
  • hoarding and squalor service response flowcharts (Part A and Part B)
  • responding is complicated
  • hoarding and squalor – a practical resource for service providers.

The hoarding and squalor key messages statement introduces the availability of the larger hoarding and squalor practical resource (below), as well as providing information on how to access hard and soft copies of the key messages statement and soft copies of the practical resource (refer to the downloads section below).

2. Hoarding and squalor - a practical resource for service providers

The purpose of the practical resource is to build service system capacity to respond to situations involving hoarding behaviour and squalid living environments, and asserts that all programs and services need to respond to such presenting circumstances, not ignore them.

The practical service response is firmly based on principles that support the person with the presenting concern and any dependants (such as children; people who are frail or have a disability or animals) so that they are well cared for and treated with the respect they deserve as living beings.

The aim of such a service response, particularly to complex life situations, is to enable and empower the person to act for themselves and on their own behalf, to exercise their rights and be confident of the services and resources available to assist them.

The practical resource presents a common response framework by:

  • discussing the difference between hoarding behaviour and squalid environments, where they intersect and why
  • emphasising the importance of placing the needs of the person and any dependents first
  • highlighting the need to plan service responses with other services, while ensuring the person and their dependants are safe and risk is minimised
  • confirming common language, systems and tools that can be utilised by services
  • providing a question and answers section and a number of case studies that illustrate good interagency practice
  • presenting information about types of services, what they do and how to contact them
  • providing a resources and contacts listing.

Many of the Tools (in Section 8) have also been designed in PDF and Word formats as separate from the versions in the document itself. These additional formats enable service providers to download and use the tools for their own purpose.

Obtaining copies of the hoarding and squalor publications - key messages & practical resource

Responding to hoarding and squalor - Key messages statement for service providers 2013

  • Hard copy (printed), and can be obtained by contacting Warehousing Fulfilment Distribution Solutions (WFDS), Telephone (03) 9793 8111 or email, orders@wfds.com.au, providing details of the quantity required and the name and address for delivery.

  • Soft copy (web based) can be found in the downloads section.

Hoarding and squalor - a practical resource for service providers 2013 – (available only in soft copy) and can be found in the downloads section.

Discussion paper hoarding and squalor 2012

The Department of Health Discussion paper hoarding and squalor, documents what was known about hoarding and squalor related behaviours and existing clinical and practical service response in Victoria at that time. The Discussion paper supported the 2012 – 2013 project and is only available in soft copy from the downloads section.

Further information

For further information and feedback on the above publications contact by email: aged.care@health.vic.gov.au or telephone (03) 9096 7389.

Downloads

Adobe Acrobat icon Key messages statement Responding to hoarding and squalor 2013 (135kb, pdf)

Adobe Acrobat icon A practical resource for service providers - hoarding and squalor 2013 (4.2MB, pdf) (warning large file)

Practical resource - tools

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8. 1 Environmental Cleanliness and Clutter Scale ECSS (141kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.1 Environmental Cleanliness and Clutter Scale ECCS (135, kb MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.2 Clutter Image Rating Scale CIRS (328kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.2 Clutter Image Rating Scale CIRS (841kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.3 Hoarding rating scale HRS-I (85kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.3 Hoarding rating scale HRS-I (105kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.4 Tool 8. 4 Squalor and hoarding profile - creating a pathway (101kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.4 Tool 8. 4 Squalor and hoarding profile - creating a pathway (117kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.5 Tool 8. 5 Fire risk reduction flyer (209kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.5 Tool 8. 5 Fire risk reduction flyer (843kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.6 Contact other local services after receiving an initial referral (93kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.6 Contact other local services after receiving an initial referral (139kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8. 7 Shared action plan checklist (88kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8. 7 Shared action plan checklist (124kb, pdf)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.8 Local hoarding and squalor service directory (67kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.8 Local hoarding and squalor service directory (101kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Tool 8.11 Planning for the provision of cleaning (247kb, pdf)
Microsoft wrod icon Tool 8.11 Planning for the provision of cleaning (246kb, MS Word)

Adobe Acrobat icon Discussion paper - hoarding and squalor 2012 (1.5MB, pdf)

 

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Last updated: 24 July, 2013
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