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Can Someone Be Forced Into a Care Home in the UK?

Moving into a care home is a big life decision that should be given adequate thought. When a loved one or family member can no longer care for themselves independently, sometimes the only option is to find a care home that will meet their needs and give them a better quality of life. While some elderly people will be comfortable with this decision, for many people it can be a very difficult and upsetting time. Many emotions can arise such as hurt, confusion or anger which can cause them to resist the change. In this article, we will look at situations in which someone might be encouraged to go into a care home.

Why might someone need to go into a care home?

They require 24-hour care

Some elderly people may require a bit of support from family members or friends to live independently, such as help with shopping, cooking or cleaning. However, when an elderly person’s care needs increase, such as experiencing mobility difficulties or dementia, they will require more round-the-clock care that their friends or family may not have the capacity or experience to give them. Care homes can ensure that their care needs are met and that they have someone who can supervise and support them to make sure they feel safe and secure at all times, including in the extremely rare case of a fire.

They do not have the mental capacity to make their own decisions

If a person does not have the mental capacity, due to having later stage dementia or a serious mental health issue or disability, then your doctor or health care professional may discuss care home options with your family. Typically, the person in question will have a medical assessment to determine whether they are mentally capable of making decisions. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, you must be assumed to be able to make your own decisions unless a medical assessment shows otherwise and any decision made for you must be with your best interests and preferences in mind.

They require respite care

An individual who has just undergone a surgical procedure or hospital stay may be discharged to a care home to receive respite care. For example, if an elderly person has broken a bone, or had a joint replacement, they may be well enough to leave the hospital but do not have their mobility back to care for themselves at home. 

They have funding issues

At-home care can be very expensive, and many older people rely on funding from their local authority to pay for their housing and support. It is often cheaper to pay for residential care than pay for an in-house carer. Therefore, social services or the council may be forced to put someone into a care home if it is the only financially feasible way to ensure that they get the care they require.

They want to benefit from the purpose built environment and companionship

While moving into a care home can be difficult and involve a period of adjustment, there are many benefits to living in a residential care home. Care homes offer a safe and secure environment for their residents which gives them peace of mind and allows them to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. They offer regular and nutritious meals with good food hygiene to ensure residents get enough fluids and nutrition to maintain their health and energy. Furthermore, care homes give residents the opportunity to socialise and interact with others on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for elderly people to feel lonely when they are living in their quiet family home. Life in a care home offers opportunities for residents to chat and reminisce about the good ol’ days, take part in communal activities and eat meals together.

Can family members force someone into a care home?

When an elderly person refuses to accept the help and care they need, it can leave family members feeling powerless, frustrated and worried for their welfare. Generally in the UK, you cannot force someone into a care home if you have all of your mental faculties and are deemed able to care for yourself. An elderly person can receive professional care in their home should they feel strongly against moving into a care home. However, social services do have a duty of care, and if they decide that your needs are unable to be met in your own home, then they can place you in a care home environment where your needs will be best met. 

Can social services force someone into a care home?

Social services have certain obligations to meet before they can place an elderly person into a care home. A social services worker can decide to move someone into a care home against their wishes or their families wishes if their care needs are not being met at home, if the elderly person is a risk to the safety of others living in the home and if the person is incapable of making a decision themselves about their care. Any decision the social worker makes must be in the best interest of the individual and must consider alternative options to achieve the same outcome.

Can you avoid being forced into a care home?

To avoid being moved out of your family home and into a care home, you can plan ahead to ensure that you have control regarding the type of care you receive and where it is delivered. There are multiple measures you can take to avoid being moved into a care home. An individual can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for their health and welfare. They can adapt their home to make it more suitable should they have mobility problems. They can write to a solicitor with explicit guidelines regarding their care wishes. Finally, they can investigate alternative types of care such as homecare or live-in care.

Can an LPA force someone into a care home?

The conversation about moving into a care home can be difficult if the elderly person resists the idea of moving or if they are too unwell to have a conversation about it. In this case, having a health and care LPA in place can enable you to make a decision in their best interest. To do this, the family member needs to contact the local authority who would arrange an assessment of your relative’s mental capacity. The assessor must deem your loved one incapable of making their own decision due to mental capacity for the LPA to give you the legal right to act on their behalf.

For many people, the transition of moving from your family home to a care home can be a very difficult and upsetting time. At The Fremantle Trust, we offer a warm and comforting ‘home from home’ feel to make this transition as easy for the resident and family as possible.

To better understand how The Fremantle Trust can support the needs of someone requiring care in one of our nursing homes or residential care homes in Buckinghamshirecontact us today.

We have care homes located across the Buckinghamshire county. Learn more about care homes nearest to you:

Care home in Aylesbury
Care homes in Princes Risborough
Nursing home in Chalfont St Peter
Care homes in Amersham
Care homes in Slough
Care homes in Chesham
Care homes in Stoke
Care homes in Burnham
Care homes in High Wycombe
Care homes in Marlow