Can my relative be forced to go into a care home against their wishes?
If your relative can make their own decisions
If your relative has the mental capacity to make decisions, they cannot be forced to go into a care home. However, if their needs mean that they need care in a care home, the council Social Services may ask them to sign a disclaimer to say that the risks involved in returning to their own home have been accepted. The council Social Services may agree to provide a package of care up to cost of the level of the care home fees they usually pay. If they do not agree to this, it should be made quite clear in writing why they were unable to provide these services.
If your relative cannot make their own decisions
If your relative has difficulties with mental capacity and is unable to make an informed choice about their living arrangements, the council Social Services could apply for a Guardianship Order in accordance with the Mental Health Act 1983. This would mean that the older person would need to remain in a place of safety, such as a suitable care home whilst the order was in place. The council Social Services would have to reapply for the Guardianship Order to be renewed after six months if it was assessed that your relative should stay there longer.
If your relative has dementia
If your relative has dementia and it is unclear how much they understand it may be difficult for the council Social Services and the relatives to come to the right decision about the older person's care needs. As with all Needs Assessments, it is particularly important to ensure that everyone involved in planning the care is consulted for their view or professional opinion. Regular reviews should take place so that the care can be adjusted and altered according to any changing needs. The older person could only be made to remain in a place of safety if the council Social Services were to take steps under the Mental Health Act 1983. This option should only be followed when all other possibilities to meet the care needs have been explored. Your relative may find that independent advocacy helps them to get their wishes and opinions heard. Some independence advocates are trained specifically to work with people who have dementia, who are often assumed not to be able to give their opinion about care. For more information, see our factsheet Independent Advocacy .
Download our factsheet: Memory loss, 'confusion', depression and dementia
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