How we can help you in Community Care: some recent successes
Independent Advice, Support and Mediation Service (Community Care)
How we help
|We made sure Elizabeth's mum didn't have to pay additional fees for nursing care.
We provide advice and assistance to people who have needs due to physical or mental disability, ill health or age or whose needs arise because of their role as carer.
We can help in cases which raise issues concerning the legal responsibilities of health and social care trusts and other public bodies in the provision of health and social care.
Our advice line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm: 028 9024 4401
Some of our recent cases
Resolving delays in Direct Payments to employ carer
Law Centre (NI) resolved a delay in setting up direct payments for a man with complex physical needs to receive care from his son.
The case was referred to our community care team by the Centre for Independent Living because the son had been providing a considerable level of care without receiving any salary for several months.
This was in spite of the Trust having already decided that our client was eligible for the Direct Payment Scheme to employ a personal assistant.
We contacted the Trust, citing local healthcare laws and the Human Rights Act to secure immediate direct payments. The Trust also increased the level of payment awarded and provided back-payment.
This allowed our client to continue to receive the care he needs, at home, and from his son, an arrangement which both of them very much wanted.
Protecting older person's right to live in her own home
Law Centre (NI) helped a family ensure that a client’s wish to live in her own home was respected.
The Alzheimer’s Society referred her to the Law Centre when she was discharged from hospital into residential care against her wishes and those of her family. The Trust had decided that she lacked capacity and argued that the move was in her best interest. Her close family felt that she did have the capacity to decide but the Trust did not take their views into consideration and did not carry out a full assessment of her capacity.
The Law Centre contacted the Trust and its legal department. The adviser argued that failing to carry out a proper assessment and placing our client into care against her wishes constituted a breach of the Human Rights Act*, of caselaw on mental capacity and of the Department’s own guidance on hospital discharge of frail and older patients.
The Trust was persuaded to carry out a capacity assessment. The client was discharged and a care package was put in place so she could live safely at home.
*Section 6 – a Local Authority must not act incompatibly with the ECHR (Article 8 – right to respect for family and private life and Article 5 – not to be deprived of liberty were both engaged in this instance)
Helping older person return to the care of her son
The Law Centre’s community care team is often called on to help negotiate with trusts on behalf of older people who lack capacity.
In a recent case, an elderly woman with advanced dementia had been cared for at home by one of her sons for some time, with support from the local health trust. There had been no concerns about her care. Other relatives felt that she should be in care and organised for her to taken into a nursing home against the son’s wishes.
Aware of the disagreement, the trust should have made a formal decision on what living arrangements were in the best interests of the mother and if necessary seek a ‘Best Interests Declaration’ from the High Court. This was not done. Instead, her care team informed the day centre that she attended that she would be taken to the nursing home later that day.
In the nursing home, she suffered distress, disorientation and severe unhappiness. She was there for 14 weeks before her case was referred to the Law Centre’s Community Care Unit.
The Law Centre adviser contacted the trust, citing local health and social care law and guidance and explaining that this case also raised deprivation of liberty and right to home and family life issues under the Human Rights Act.
The lady was returned to the care of her son. She is now happily living back at home with appropriate care.