The National Careline Blog

Are older people’s rights being eroded by the application of too many rules now??

01 November 2021

On several occasions I have had callers say that they cannot visit their loved ones in a care home  when they want to. They can’t take Mum or Dad back to their old home to enjoy some time there and gather more belongings that they would like with them in the home.  I know we’ve had Covid19 to deal with, but ways of dealing with that safely should be well and truly embedded in procedures now and shouldn’t be impacting on the normal interactions of people in day to day living.

Other callers have said that they cannot take their family out for the day or on a trip and I can’t think why this would be.  What has changed so much that the rights of older people and their families to do what they want to do and when they want to do it, are regularly being overridden by the over zealous application of rules?

Being a true cynic, I am also asking myself, and for whose benefit is all of this bother? I don’t think it is your poor loved one by what I’m hearing. In fact I’m pretty sure that a lot of cases are leaning towards a contravention of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS). So, a lot of my advice involves reminding people of the existence of these safeguards which are there to protect people in care and to go and refresh their memories of the protections these are supposed to give.

Looking back to when my mother was in care, we could go and see her when we wished and, if we wanted to take her out, there was never a problem. In fact, the home had a spare foldable wheelchair that was available for use by those who needed it.

My sister and I even arranged a trip for Mum to go to Weston Super Mare where she and Dad had their honeymoon and the home couldn’t have been more thoughtful. They packed the drugs she would need for the next few days, together with ample changes of underwear, pads, top clothes and a warm coat plus some snacks. We had booked accommodation with disabled facilities and a shower big enough for us all to get in together to ensure Mum couldn’t fall.

Although her Alzheimers was pretty well established by this time, she was still able to enjoy the sea air, sand between her toes, a paddle in the sea and a meal of proper fish and chips.  We took her inland and up onto the moors to see the ponies which, as a lifelong pony lover, she absolutely loved. She walked when she could and we had the chair when she couldn’t and, just occasionally we would see a bit of our Mum as she used to be. A flash of her personality that the Alzheimers hadn’t managed to claim of her yet and those moments were so precious. I still tear up thinking of them.

My sister and I have never regretted throwing caution to the wind and taking Mum away for those few days and having a whirl of garden centres, sea air and lots of tea and cakes and, if you have the opportunity to do the same, don’t let anyone stop you doing it.