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Straight From The Gut 3

February 11, 2013

I know. I know. I’m becoming a bit obsessive about the hoops a learning disabled person has to go through to demonstrate their decision making capacity but I heard two stories on Saturday that show how the majority of us make our decisions.

Firstly, someone was telling me about choosing a pre-school nursery for his daughter. They visited five in their area and read the Ofsted reports on all of them. One of his most telling statements was: “we sat down after visiting the five nurseries and tried to match what we had seen to their Ofsted reports. They didn’t match at all”. In the end, they made their decision by talking to other parents they knew locally and relying on their instinctive reactions to the places.

Later, I spoke to a man who had been looking at care homes for his mother who has dementia. He had visited three and like the other chap, had read the CQC inspection reports on all of them. Alarmingly, he told me about the one that had the most glowing report – he was shown one of the bedrooms and saw blood stains over the bare mattress. As he said; “It may have been fine but I don’t want to send my mother off to the Blair Witch Project”. The second one he visited, he declined on the basis that 18 people were sitting in a lounge, doing nothing and only two staff were attending to them. In the end, he made his choice because the staff smiled warmly at him and the residents looked to be doing something.

I wonder how these two decisions would have stood up under the scrutiny of a mental capacity assessment.

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From → Social Care

One Comment
  1. Edna permalink

    Very pointed observation Mark. The MCA has little to do with mental capacity to make real life decisions, it is based on a false premise on how such decisions are made and the factors that influence them- which will differ from person to person. People who cannot fluently express themselves are very disadvantaged by the ‘capacity testing’ usually conducted.

    Sadly the MCA has done nothing but create a class of non persons and jobs for judges, lawyers and health/social care staff under the guise of ‘safeguarding’. I feel legalised abuse might be the correct term for the manner in which the MCA is enacted.

    Your son was not protected, neither are the many elders forced into care homes against their will- only to die days / weeks later. The average stay before dying in a care home is 2 years? I bet research will show that people allowed to stay at home with similar risks, (falls occur in institutions too and lead to increased morbidity and mortality), would live longer and more contentedly in familiar surrounds.

    Of course some want to live in a care home- but not the vast majority. As one elderly gentleman, who I purloined to ask whilst accompanying aged P to hospital appointment, said on my enquiring what he thought of the local authority commissioned care home he was incarcerated within ‘ I have no choice’. That sums up care for the elderly and disabled people.

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