Lawyers Help Secure Community Care Package For Man Held In Assessment And Treatment Unit
An autistic man detained in a mental health hospital for more than four years has been released.
Elliot Dodds and his sister Beckii Davis are celebrating after the 27-year-old was released into a community placement.
Elliot was admitted to a psychiatric institution when his mental health deteriorated in April 2018. Since then, he had remained in a mental health hospital in an assessment treatment unit (ATU) with restrictions on his liberty. Following a trial period in the community, Elliot was officially discharged from formal detention on 24 August to his own home with the support of carers.
Lawyers secure bespoke community care package for Elliot
Beckii, of North Yorkshire, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her brother’s care and help secure him a bespoke community care package in conjunction with care providers.
Kirsty Stuart, is a specialist public law and human rights lawyer at Irwin who is supporting around 30 families who have relatives with a learning disability and/or autism in ATUs.
Expert Opinion“What happened to Elliot has been incredibly upsetting, not only for him but also his family. Sadly it’s also symptomatic of the other first-hand accounts we continue to hear from families whose loved ones are detained in these units.
“Understandably all Beckii has wanted is what’s best for Elliot, which she believes is him receiving the support he requires in the community, allowing him to thrive.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to help secure a care package specifically tailored to meet Elliot’s needs and look forward to seeing him make the most of life.
“However, despite previous pledges to reduce the number of autistic people and those with a learning disability being detained, far too many continue to be held in ATUs.
“As we continue to support families affected by such issues we once again call on the authorities to do more to reduce the numbers detained.” Kirsty Stuart - Senior Associate Solicitor
ATUs: Elliot Dodds' story
Elliot has been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy for which he takes medication. He had been living at home with his family as part of a community care package before he was admitted to hospital.
During his time in hospital Elliot has spent significant time in isolation which Beckii said was causing her brother’s physical and mental health to deteriorate.
Family's joy as four-year legal battle over
Beckii, 29, a sole trader, said: “When Elliot was admitted to hospital we hoped he’d receive the help he needed and would be home within a few weeks. Never did we think this would turn into a four year battle.
“The last few years have been incredibly difficult for everyone but particularly Elliot. Seeing him in hospital, locked away from the world and how he was deteriorating was traumatic. While he has complex needs nobody deserves to be treated in that way. He had no quality of life whatsoever.”
Sister wants more to be done to stop ATU detentions
Beckii added: “My emotions are all over the place now that Elliot has been released. There have been a lot of upsetting and tearful times over the last few years but it means everything to have Elliot in his new home.
“He’s settling into his new surroundings well and growing in confidence every day. He’s already been for a day out at the seaside and he’s made me a list of everything he wants to do. A holiday to London is the main thing. To some these may seem like ordinary things that people take for granted but they mean the world to us.
“I can’t thank everyone who’s helped us for everything they’ve done for our family. We remain upset at what we’ve had to go through and more definitely needs to be done to stop keeping people in ATUs. However, I also hope that Elliot coming home gives strength to other families who find themselves in a similar situation to what we did.”
Find out more about ATUs and our expertise in supporting families affected by loved ones being detained in them at our dedicated assessment and treatment units section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.