Our Public Law & Human Rights solicitors have helped a family challenge a hospital’s decision about the care needs of a 76-year-old woman with dementia, ‘K’. This meant that K could return home after a hospital stay instead of being sent to a residential care home against her and her family’s wishes.
K had been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a type of dementia that can cause problems with understanding, thinking, memory, and judgement. Her husband and daughter cared for her at home until she was admitted to hospital with a urinary tract infection in April 2018.
K loves her home, her family, and her dogs. She was looking forward to going back home when she was well enough, and her family was ready to continue caring for her.
However, the team treating K at hospital believed that she needed 24-hour specialist nursing care in a residential care home. They said that K’s family couldn’t provide enough care and wouldn’t be able to manage her behaviour.
K’s family, on the other hand, believed that her behaviour would improve if she could go back home. They understood that K might need to go to a care home in the future, but were adamant that she didn’t need to yet.
K herself clearly wished to stay at home as long as possible.
K’s family and the hospital couldn’t reach an agreement during negotiations. The hospital team found a care home and proposed moving K there as soon as possible, against K’s wishes and her family’s.
The family got in touch with our Public Law & Human Rights lawyers in June and asked us to help.
How We Helped
We wrote an urgent letter to the local authority’s legal team and to the hospital, asking them to confirm that:
- K wouldn’t be sent to a care home against her and her family's wishes
- They would organise a formal best interests meeting before making any decisions
- They would refer the case to the Court of Protection if K was sent to a care home.
The letter also highlighted that the local authority had failed to follow the correct process when keeping K in hospital against her will. This meant that K didn’t have help from a statutory Relevant Person’s Representative and that she was being unlawfully detained.
The best interests meeting took place in June and one of our solicitors attended with K and her family. The treating team from the hospital agreed that K should be allowed to go home the following week.
K's family was very pleased with the outcome. "Thank you so much for all your help, [it's] greatly appreciated," said K's daughter.
If you’re in a dispute about a vulnerable person’s care or living arrangements, our Public Law & Human Rights solicitors may be able to help you too. See our Mental Capacity Solicitors page for more information.
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