Q. My aunt is a resident in a Care Home in North Wales. They say because she has dementia, she lacks capacity to make her own decisions about where she should live, and about her care needs. She is on something called a DOL. For 6 months now, she has been telling me that she wants to move back to Kent because this is where her family live (myself included).
She only moved to North Wales to enjoy her retirement with her husband, but he sadly passed away and she became ill and ended up in a care home shortly after he died. I keep trying to get her Social Worker to look into this, but they still haven’t done anything about it. Can I help her?
A: As your aunt lacks capacity to make decisions regarding her care and residence, she has been placed on a Deprivation of Liberty (DOLS) Standard Authorisation to lawfully keep her in the Care Home.
Despite being subject to a “DOLS” she has the right to challenge this decision and ask a Judge from the Court of Protection to compel the Local Authority to look at all available options open to her. This could include options in the Kent area so that she can be closer to her family. There is no guarantee that the Judge would eventually order a move, but he/she would certainly give the Local Authority a nudge to look at the possibilities.
The Application to the Court of Protection can be brought by your aunt, with the support of an advocate or specialist lawyer. This is probably the best course of action as they will have experience of putting across her case in the most effective way, although there are occasions where family members can sometimes bring a case on behalf of a DOLS patient.
You should seek advice from a lawyer specialising in this very niche area of law as soon as possible.
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. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194