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Care and Contact Restrictions - COVID-19

I recently wrote an article about the recent judgment handed down by Justice Hayden on 25 March 2020. This case addressed the issue of care and contact in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that this case was heard pre-lockdown and pre-dated the government guidance that all visits to care homes should be banned.

Click here to read the full article.

Since then a second decision concerning BP has been released.  

In the earlier judgment, Justice Hayden upheld that it was in BP’s best interest to remain residing in the care home rather than being cared for by his daughter (FP) at home. Justice Hayden acknowledged that returning to FP’s care would be unrealistic and there were significant practical difficulties in providing an appropriate care package for BP. BP’s wife (RP) did not support, the application made by BP’s daughter that it was in his best interest to return home to her care.

Since then, BP had become very unwell (unrelated to the Coronavirus). In accordance with the conditions stipulated by the Court, FP visited her father regularly from his bedroom window and made every effort to communicate with him from a distance. BP’s family noticed a marked deterioration in BP, he was becoming very unresponsive and depressed. FP argued that BP struggled to understand why the social distancing policies were put in place and wrongly believed that he was being punished for something. In order to protect BP, FP continued to self-isolate and only left her home to visit.

This case was brought before the Court on 17th  April 2020. Before the case was heard the parties came to an agreement that it was in BP’s best interest to return home to FP’s care subject to an assessment of his needs and implementation of an appropriate care package. This time, RP was in agreement with all parties that it was in BP’s best interest to return home.

Despite Justice Hayden’s original judgment a mental capacity assessment has not been conducted remotely for BP. Justice Hayden provides the following advice regarding assessment of capacity during these unprecedent times:

“If BP had remained at the home it would have been necessary to instruct a different assessor. I remain of the view that creative use of the limited options available can deliver the information required to determine questions of capacity. It may be that experienced carers well known to P and with whom P is comfortable can play a part in facilitating the assessment. Family members may also play a significant role in the process. I am aware that in many areas of the country innovative and productive approaches of this kind are proving to be extremely effective”.

If you are concerned about a loved one in a care setting, please contact our team on 01926 354704 for guidance and support.

Charlotte Bell

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