Our Public Law and Human Rights team helped a 60-year-old man with Down’s syndrome move out of his unsuitable care home placement.
Our client, Hal*, a 60-year-old gentleman with Down’s syndrome, lived in a supported living flat with support from carers.
Hal didn’t have the mental capacity to make decisions about his care or to choose where he lived. His local authority made these decisions on his behalf under the ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’. These safeguards protect people’s rights if they lack capacity and their care arrangements require restrictions on their freedom.
The Court of Protection appointed an independent advocate to support Hal as part of this process and make sure that the local authority’s decisions were in Hal’s best interests.
Unfortunately, Hal had to go to hospital for emergency surgery. Afterwards, he couldn’t return to his flat due to his mobility getting worse. The supported living environment was no longer suitable for him, so the local authority decided to place Hal in a residential care home.
The care home specialised in caring for elderly people and particularly for those with dementia. The other residents were older than Hal and had very different needs. Hal was spending most of his time in his room by himself. He’d previously been very sociable but was becoming isolated.
Before going to hospital, Hal routinely visited a day centre five days a week, for over 20 years. Unfortunately, when he moved to the care home he was not able to visit the day centre as it was too far away.
Hal’s advocate became very concerned about this, as socialising with other people at the day centre was a really important part of his life. Hal’s family were also worried about him.
How We Helped
Hal’s independent advocate contacted us and expressed their concerns that the care home wasn’t suitable for Hal’s needs. Public Law and Human Rights solicitor Katy Clarke gathered evidence about his living and care arrangements and got to work filing his case with the Court of Protection. We also got evidence from Hal’s doctor about his health conditions.
We got the Court to compel the local authority to assess other available options that would be suitable for Hal’s residential placement. We then presented these options to Hal and his advocate.
Because there was further disagreement about where it was best for Hal to live, the Court ordered an independent social worker to assess Hal’s needs. They concluded that it wasn’t in Hal’s best interests to stay at the elderly care home.
Unfortunately, there was then a COVID-19 breakout at the care home. Hal couldn’t leave his room and became even more isolated and anxious, refusing to eat or drink anything. His advocate felt the situation had clearly reached a crisis point.
We urgently communicated with the local authority and wrote to Hal’s doctor to push for urgent assessments of Hal’s mental health, to get him the support he needed.
Finding The Best Home For Hal
The local authority then agreed that the care home was unsuitable for Hal. An alternative care home was found which was learning disability focused, and where the other residents were Hal’s age. Nursing support would also be available to help with his health conditions. Hal could also take part in varied activities, access the community and socialise with the other residents.
After assessments, the new placement confirmed they could offer Hal a place on a trial basis for 12 weeks. The Court made an order that it was in Hal’s best interests to move there.
After the trial period, everyone agreed that Hal’s mental and physical wellbeing was a lot better. He was engaging with staff and other residents, and his anxiety was improving.
His independent advocate reported that Hal was “doing amazingly well” and his family also agreed that he was far happier at his new placement.
“Hal wasn’t getting his needs met in the home he was placed in and it was clear how unhappy he was. I’m so delighted to have helped Hal get the best outcome for his case and the right home for his needs, where he can be happier. Hal’s case is a great example of why it’s so important that everyone has someone to help them fight their corner”. – Katy Clarke, solicitor
If you need to appeal an inappropriate decision made by a local authority, our specialist Court of Protection solicitors could help you get it overturned.
Visit our Court of Protection page for more details.
*Not client’s real name
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