Vulnerable adults being let down by poor social work practice, new report finds

Vulnerable people are being forced into situations against their will because care providers are not following the proper processes, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

In a report published today, the Ombudsman highlights some of the concerns it has about the way some of the most vulnerable people in society are being treated. This involves cases where decisions are being made on behalf of people who lack mental capacity to choose how they are cared for.

The report details problems the Ombudsman has observed including not carrying out - or delaying - assessments to determine whether someone has the capacity to make decisions for themselves, and not involving friends and families in the decision process.

It also describes problems with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system and includes cases where people have been left in care homes, having not had the proper assessments carried out - and potentially being deprived of their freedom.

Jeremy Hughes, Cheif Executive at Alzheimer's Society said:

'The findings of this report echo what we hear too often from people with dementia, who tell us that a dementia care system on the brink of collapse means they’re receiving care that fails to respect their right to make decisions or take into account their wishes. Depriving someone of their liberty should only ever be done as a last resort, and with the person with dementia’s preferences and best interests at heart.

'Sadly, all too often care staff don't have the dementia training you would expect. Taking a person-centred approach is essential for people with dementia to remain at the centre of their care.

'It is vital that all health and social care professionals receive appropriate training and have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act so they are able to ensure this.'

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