Safeguarding the Interests of Elderly People

Safeguarding the Interests of Elderly People

Unless you’re an avid watcher of the UK’s political climate and not an armchair viewer of the latest Brexit polls or the race to be elected Prime Minister, you may be unaware of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill.

If you’re already up to speed with the bill, great! If not, you may be surprised to learn that there is rising controversy around the hugely sensitive issue of safeguarding the interests of elderly people who lack the mental capacity to care for themselves and are granted a place to stay to for their own safety or the safety of others.

As one of the most reputable care homes in Manchester, Flixton Manor Home is well-aware of the debate surrounding this issue.

Applying to people with inhibited cognitive health or who suffer dementia or delirium, there is great concern around current practices. Many political commentators and healthcare professionals believe that the current system has broken down, leaving many older people vulnerable.

An Opinion Shared

Having followed the Bill’s progression this year and being a skilled nursing facility, Flixton Manor Care Home has noted that the government seems to have no clear plans to change the law – something that’s sad given that it applies to people who haven’t historically been granted a voice.

Recent analysis suggests that for the third year running, more Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard applications were received than completed. This means that more elderly people who lack the capacity to take responsibility for their actions are denied their liberty or the right to associate freely with their nearest and dearest.

In the most severe of cases, elderly people have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act because hospital managers are unsure of how to keep someone safe and remain with the law as set forth by the Care Quality Commission.

This is grossly unjust and unfair. We at Flixton Manor Care Home are not alone in our opinion that detaining someone under the Mental Health Act because just to comply with the Care Quality Commission is a sad reflection on how we view people of an advanced age, regardless of a medical condition.

The Actions That Could Be Taken

It seems clear that the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill has elements that need strengthening. As some care homes in Manchester – and across the UK – are aware of, the balance between care home managers who prepare assessments and the local authorities and clinical commissioning groups who authorise them should be subject to a review.

A more measured approach is required. Care homes will always act in the best interests of their residents, that is without saying, but the Bill does not seem to strike the right balance when a case of residency as opposed to detainment is raised.

To think that there may be hundreds, or indeed, thousands of people who should be in living in a skilled nursing facility as opposed to being detained under the Mental Health Act is incredibly sad.

The Takeaway

We’re not suggesting that the current legislation is sustainable or desirable, but there are distinct opinions on whether the Bill is worth wholeheartedly supporting. Any resolution needn’t be perfect, but for the sake of many people denied access to one of the best care homes in Manchester and have zero legal protection, surely, it’s worth addressing this issue quickly.

Flixton Manor is a skilled  Manchester nursing home facility that’s synonymous with progressive care. We have more than 25 years’ experience improving the quality of life of our residents. Learn more about us today by calling 0161 746 7175, where one of our friendly staff would be happy to help you.