Going into care is a huge life decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
When someone can no longer care for themselves independently, or with the help of friends, family or carers, sometimes the only option left is to find a care home that can meet their care needs.
However, while some elderly people may be happy with this decision, others might be upset, hurt, confused or angry.
This brings about the question, can social services force someone to go into a care home?
In this article, we’ll look at the circumstances in which someone might have to go into a care home.
Circumstances Where You May Need to go to a Care Home
There are several reasons why a person may need to go into care, despite not wanting to or feeling that they can still live independently. Read on to find out which are the most common.
You Require 24-Hour Care
When an elderly person needs a bit of support in order to live independently, this can often be provided by friends and family.
This could include help with shopping, cooking, cleaning and fetching prescriptions or running errands.
Even when care needs increase and the person begins to experience mobility problems and starts to require assistance with washing, dressing and toileting, sometimes a paid carer can be employed to visit the elderly person’s home each day.
However, once round-the-clock care is required, it’s a different story. People with significant health problems, including conditions like dementia, may have to go into a home to ensure that their care needs are met and that they have someone who can supervise them to make sure they are safe and secure at all times.
You Are Not Mentally Capable of Decision-Making
In some cases, a person may not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their own care. This could include people with mental health issues, a disability, or severe dementia.
Typically, the person in question will have a mental capacity or medical assessment to determine whether they are mentally capable of making decisions.
Health care professionals will then work with the person’s family to decide what the best solution is, which could be for the person to go into a care home.
Even if you are unable to make your own decisions, don’t worry! The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that all decisions made on your behalf must be with your best interests and preferences in mind.
You Need Respite Care
If someone has just had a surgical procedure or a hospital stay, their doctor may discharge them on the condition that they spend some time in a care home to receive respite care.
For example, if a person has broken a bone, or had a joint replaced, they may be well enough to leave the hospital, but not well enough to live at home.
The solution is therefore to move into a respite care home while they get their mobility back.
You Have Funding Issues
Care home funding is definitely a point of contention in the UK – a massive 96% of UK care seekers think it’s difficult to find funding!
There are several different ways to pay for care services; self-funding and funding from the local authority being two of the main ones.
Paying for residential care is often cheaper than paying for someone to stay in their own home and receive care there.
Therefore, social services or the council may be forced to put someone into a care home if it is the only financially feasible way to ensure they get the care they require.
If you have gone down the local authority-funded route, you are still able to make your own decision about which care home you go to, so long as it is within budget.
Friends and family can also pay what is called a top-up fee to get you into a more expensive care home if the local authority agrees to this.
For more help and advice on care homes fees and funding, check out our handy guide.
You Are Renting a Property
When you own your own home, technically no one can force you to leave it, unless you are ordered to by a court for reasons that may include divorce, debt or crime. However, there is no such law for people renting a property who refuse care.
Your Legal Rights Explained
If you are thinking about your future, it makes sense to consider the possibility that at some point you may need to go into a care home, or that social services may put you in one.
Although this thought can be worrying and upsetting, it’s a good idea to plan for all scenarios. Knowing your rights is therefore extremely important.
In the UK, you legally cannot be forced into a care home if you are mentally capable of making your own decisions, such as arranging for professional care services to come to your home.
The only way you can be forced into a care home under is under certain circumstances where you are not capable of decision making and meet certain other criteria such as being detained under the Mental Health Act 1986.
Social services are able to recommend that you go into a home, but cannot make you do anything against your wishes. However, we do recommend that you discuss your situation with family, friends and social workers to work out what is best for you. If you feel really strongly against going into a residential care home, there may be other options, such as live-in care.
Live-in Care Options
If you, or your elderly relative, has undergone a care assessment and has been assessed as needing care, but you don’t want to go to a home, you can arrange for a carer to visit your home regularly to offer care services.
If a more significant level of care is required, professional carers can also move into your home to provide round-the-clock care.
Social Services Obligation
Remember that social services are here to help you! They have a duty of care to assess your needs and make sure that you have access to the care and support services you need to be safe and well. Social services may have to intervene in the following situations:
- If your care needs are not being met in your own home
- If you are a risk to your own safety, or the safety of others living in your home
- If you are mentally or physically incapable of making your own decisions
If social services determine that your care needs are not being met in your own home, they can move you to an environment that will ensure that they are.
Sometimes it just isn’t possible to stay in your own home, but by reading the above guide, it is possible to prepare for all outcomes, to ensure you keep some measure of control over your care.
Speak to family members, friends and social workers and be open and honest about your situation – they are there to help you to be happy, healthy and safe, which is arguably the most important thing. If it’s time for you to go into a home,
Lottie can help you find a care home you love, at the right price for you. Contact one of our care experts here.