Care in a local lockdown: Impact on home care

Advice about making sure a person still gets the home care that they need if their area is affected by a lockdown.

Question:

‘My mother-in-law, who has dementia, lives near places that have had local lockdowns. I’m worried about her still getting home care if her area is locked down too.’ 

Answer:

It’s hard to predict where local lockdowns might be or what this would mean for your mother-in-law – restrictions in different areas haven’t been identical. 

However, her local authority would still have responsibilities towards her, and there are things you can do if you think it isn’t fulfilling these. 

The law in England 

During the national lockdown earlier this year, the Coronavirus Act 2020 changed the rules for local authorities about how they provide social care and how they assess a person’s needs for support. 

A local authority can only change how it does these things if there’s an ‘emergency period’ where its staff are depleted, or there’s such an increase in demand for care that it’s not reasonable to expect it to meet this fully.

Whether this applies to a specific local lockdown depends on the situation. 

Despite this uncertainty, the Coronavirus Act is clear that a person’s human rights must not be violated during this time. All safeguarding provisions remain too, so local authorities still must act to prevent abuse and neglect, including self-neglect.

What does this mean? 

A local lockdown might mean the social care provided by the local authority is restricted – that someone doesn’t get all the support they’d normally receive. 

However, this cannot happen if it would infringe the person’s human rights or put them at risk of abuse or neglect. Local authorities must still provide care to people who desperately need it. 

What could you do? 

If your mother-in-law’s area is locked down, speak to her social services to ensure they’re still going to provide her home care. 

If they plan to change her care in a way you think is wrong, explain how you feel this would violate her human rights or put her at risk of abuse or neglect. 

If there’s no agreement, you could put in a formal complaint that outlines the reasons for your concerns – hopefully, you won’t need to do this. 

Wales and Northern Ireland 

If any parts of Wales or Northern Ireland are locked down in future, a person’s care cannot be removed if this puts them at risk or violates their human rights. If you’re concerned about this, speak to the local council or trust involved.

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Dementia together magazine: Oct/Nov 20

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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