National Hoarding Week

Did you know that this week is national hoarding awareness week and events such as this one by Horizon Amicus are being run.

We are delighted to post Ellis Turner’s blog today:

When I first started as a practitioner mine and others response to a complaint about a “filthy and verminous” property was to simply assess for pest infestations and human waste outside the toilet pan and of course notify social services. Most of us have all had experience of blitz cleans and met some very intelligent and interesting people.

On reflection I and other professionals have tackled the symptoms and have not always been able to tackle the cause of hoarding behaviour. Collectively we have invested time, energy and resources into housing, tenancy and often severe legal interventions with a wide range and at times extreme and occasionally sad outcomes.

Last year I was pleased to be part of a cross disciplinary working group that set out to develop tools and awareness of the significant impact and gap in service provision of supporting those experiencing hoarding behaviour.

Islington now has hoarding panel to co-ordinate action on the most extreme case (similar to the MARAC Multi-Agency-Risk-Assessment-Conference) model and has developed a protocol and fact sheet which forms part of our joint strategic needs assessment.

For some other useful resources, click on the links below:

What is clear to me is that only through co-ordinated action, support and advocacy from all health, social care, public health practitioners and third sector can we start to help support those experiencing hoarding behaviour. The mental capacity act code of practice on capacity assessments is a good place to start and ensuring the capacity assessment is specific to “capacity to clean and tidy one’s home”

Other countries like the US are a bit ahead of us on understanding hoarding and have recognised this as diagnosable condition, which then in turn opens the door to treatments and advocacy for those experiencing hoarding behaviour. The one big change I have made though is to stop saying hoarding disorder and to start talking about hoarding behaviour.

Special thanks to Shadia-Ousta Doerfel at Islington Council and Megan Khans at Hoarding UK

(Ellis ends)


At EHRNet we would be very pleased to hear of other useful open access resources, and will set up an open access resources page similar to our others.



One thought on “National Hoarding Week

  1. Many thanks for this Ellis and the really useful references, they certainly brought back many uncomfortable memories of my own past ineffective hoarding interventions and reminded me of how little we as EHPs actually know about behaviour change (though some of us profess to be ‘experts’!?).

    One of the great things about living with a clinical psychologist (who knows a lot more about behaviour change) is you get to read all her professional stuff which is generally light years ahead of ours, particularly in the areas of evidence based policy and practice. Readers may therefore be interested in the following link to the recently published British Psychological Society’s perspectives on hoarding available via:

    We are not clinical psychologists, but we have a lot to learn from them (and others) about hoarding and it’s a great relief to learn more about the need for multidisciplinary interventions. Also great to see that Ellis’s guidance makes reference to the BPS guidance above, hurrah!

    With best wishes,


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