Report Sheds Light On Use Of Safeguards In Care Homes

CQC Highlights Some Concerns Over Freedom Of Patients

16.03.2011

A new report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed how well care homes and hospitals are adhering to legal frameworks on the use of liberty safeguards.

Legislation around the safeguards, which are designed to lawfully deprive patients of their freedom in order to protect them, came into force in April 2009 and the study revealed that many hospitals and care homes are demonstrating good practice.

However, the organisation warned that it has also seen “too many” cases where staff at such sites have restrained patients without considering the impact on their liberty.

Jonathan Peacock, a medical law and patients’ rights specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, has a wealth of experience in this area after representing the family of Leslie Vines in their claim against Maypole Nursing Home in Birmingham.

The war veteran died days after moving into the home, where he was restrained in a chair which restricted his breathing.

Discussing the new CQC report, Jonathan said: “The fact that a number of cases have been flagged where the use of restraints could be impacting on a patient’s human rights is deeply concerning and something that needs to be addressed.

“While the legislation in relation to this issue is relatively new, it is vital that NHS Trusts and other organisations work quickly to raise awareness of such issues and improve levels of training in the area.

“It is vital that all patients, regardless of their age, have access to care and treatment with the maximum consideration of both their dignity and human rights.”