Care homes applying for hundreds more court orders to prevent elderly from

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. If they elderly people receiving care, their routine may be decided for them and they may not be allowed to leave if the courts decide they lacks the capacity to make decisions themselves.George McNamara, director of policy and influencing at Independent Age said the figures are “deeply worrying”.“What should be a measure of last resort is increasingly becoming more commonplace,” he said.”Increasing numbers of older people, many of them extremely vulnerable, are being locked up, restrained or sedated. This leads us to seriously question how many are being wrongly deprived of their liberty. “Depriving someone of their liberty can be a very frightening experience, one that we should avoid wherever possible by providing the best quality of care, and better training and support to care home workers. Sadly, this is becoming more and more difficult due to the government’s continuing failure to address the crisis in social care.”Between October and December 2018, there were 1,052 DoL – a rise of two per cent on the same period in 2017. Following a Supreme Court decision in 2014, anyone under continuous supervision in either a hospital or a care home who would not be allowed to walk out of the door at their own free will must have such restrictions approved under DoL’s.The Family Court statistics also reveal that the number of DoL applications converted into orders rose 4 per cent from 2017 to last year.Between October and December the number rose by 16 per cent.Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said that DoL’s should only be made when absolutely necessary and to safeguard people who lack the mental capacity to consent to care or treatment.She added: “Every older person has the right to good, dignified care, including those who lack mental capacity because of dementia or for other reasons. Care homes and hospitals are applying for hundreds more elderly people to be locked inside, new data shows.The figures, published today by the Ministry of Justice, reveal that there were 4,557 applications made by care homes and hospitals relating to Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) orders in 2018. This marked a 14 per cent increase on the previous year where there were 3,995 applications as charities warn that the increasing trend in applications are “deeply worrying”.DoL’s apply to people with dementia or Alzheimer’s and involves some degree of reducing their independence or free will.They fall under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which aims to ensure that any restriction of liberty is often in the person’s best interests. “We want a care system within which older people’s dignity and rights are upheld in a manner that is transparent and easy for everyone to  understand.”

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