When a local authority determines that a care home placement is necessary for a loved one, but you disagree with the decision, it can be an incredibly distressing and challenging situation. However, it is important to remember that you have rights and remedies available.
Seek clarification and information
The first step is to gather as much information as possible about the local authority's decision. Request a meeting with the relevant professionals involved in the decision-making process, such as social workers or care coordinators, to discuss their reasons for recommending a care home placement. Seek clarification on any concerns or doubts you may have and request access to all assessments and reports.
Express your concerns
Clearly articulate your concerns and objections to the proposed care home placement. Outline why you believe an alternative solution, such as care at home or a different care facility, would be more suitable for your loved one's needs. Provide any evidence or supporting documentation, such as any wishes that your loved one may have expressed before losing mental capacity to make the decision for themselves, and any medical reports or professional opinions.
Request a care needs assessment
Ask for a comprehensive care needs assessment for your loved one, which will assess their current abilities, support requirements, and potential alternatives to a care home. This assessment should consider their physical, emotional, and mental well-being, as well as their personal preferences and wishes.
Seek advocacy and support
Reach out to independent advocacy services or local organisations that specialise in supporting individuals and families in similar situations. These advocates can provide guidance, help you to understand your rights, and offer assistance in challenging the local authority's decision. They may also be able to accompany you to meetings.
Seek legal advice
It may be beneficial to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in community care and mental capacity law. They can assess the strength of your case in challenging any professional assessments and decisions, guide you through the legal process, and represent your views at any meetings.
If your loved one has been assessed to lack mental capacity to make the decision for themselves, and there is a disagreement between professionals and family members, the local authority should arrange a best interests meeting to listen to everyone’s views before making a decision.
Similarly, if your loved one is resistive to, or objecting to, the proposed move to a care home and lacks mental capacity to make the decision, a best interests meeting will be required to seek to reach agreement and discuss the detail of how your loved one will be moved / transitioned to a care home.
In the event that agreement cannot be reached, an application to the Court of Protection may be required. The Court of Protection in England is a specialist court that deals with matters relating to individuals who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Navigating disagreements with the local authority requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to collaborate. Whilst challenging their decision may be emotionally draining, it is crucial to advocate for your loved one's best interests and explore all available options.
Legal aid funding is available for these types of cases subject to eligibility.