Q&A Dad is no longer able to care properly for Mum – what should I do?

Q.       I live near my parents and visit them regularly. My mother was diagnosed with Dementia some time ago and now has quite substantial care needs. Until recently these needs have been met by my father. However, things have now started to deteriorate, and I believe it is because my father has developed mental health needs of his own. I am getting very worried that Mum is no longer receiving the support that she needs. I know she would prefer to stay in her own home with my father and therefore I don’t believe she would agree to going into a care home. Can you advise the best way to resolve this situation?

A:       This is clearly a difficult situation, but not an unusual one. You should get into contact with the local authority, stating that you have safeguarding concerns about your mother. As she has been diagnosed with dementia, your mother may lack capacity to make decisions on her care needs and residence. Therefore, it is likely that a best interests meeting would take place, in which it may be decided against her wishes that a care home or alternative accommodation would be in her best interests.

Due to the move being against her wishes the local authority would likely have to make an application to the Court of Protection to make a decision that is in her best interests. As you have said your mother would prefer to stay at home, it seems likely that she may continue to object to her placement for a considerable period of time. This being the case, with the help of an advocate or specialist lawyer, an application could be brought on her behalf which challenges her deprivation of liberty.

As this is a very niche area of law, if you do have to challenge a DOL you should ensure that you seek advice from a lawyer with specialist experience in these matters.

This question has been answered by Shane Maddocks, Solicitor & Head of Public Authority Law at GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email.

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