A leading Court of Protection lawyer with one of the region’s largest mental health teams has expressed ‘huge concern’ for the mental wellbeing of vulnerable patients, and their families, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shane Maddocks is Head of Public Authority Law at GHP Legal which, with offices in North Wales and Shropshire is one of the top law firms in England and Wales. He says families and advocates of vulnerable persons in care homes are suffering devastating consequences of the COVID-19 disease due to not being allowed face to face visits.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on all of us,” he says, “but it is particularly hard on the vulnerable in care, who are unable to receive visitors in person and often don’t understand why that is, or the concept of ‘virtual’ visits.
“In some cases, care home residents are now getting so distressed that their families or advocates are questioning whether or not a Care Home is the best place for them to be living currently. On top of those concerns there is also the huge issue of how many people are passing away in Care Homes during this crisis.
“Many of these people do not have the capacity to make their own decisions about where they should live and have therefore not had a real say about being deprived of their liberty and being made subject to the higher risks.
“Family members or advocates for those who lack capacity to make their own decisions may wish to challenge Local Authority decisions to keep their loved ones in Care Homes and they should be made aware that they can do this within the Court of Protection.
“Anyone with concerns about an individual who lacks capacity should seek legal advice. Whilst the Court of Protection, like all of us, has to be mindful and realistic about the current restrictions when considering the options, they have a wide range of powers that might be able to assist”.