Laughing my socks off

By | Mental Capacity Act, The Care Act 2014 | No Comments

Would you expect to go to a conference on the Mental Capacity and Mental Health Acts and have a rip roaring time? Silly question. It’s always lovely to be surprised in life although I would have enjoyed the subject matter either way: On Friday I went to the 2015 Annual Taking Stock conference at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where we heard fascinating updates on areas such as the Care Act and Advocacy, the Law Commission’s proposals for informal incapacitated admissions, and issues with the revised Mental Health Act Code of Practice. As usual I will bullet point what I regarded as the most pertinent insights:

Neil Allen of the wonderful 39 Essex Chambers (for all things mental capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, subscribe to their newsletter) asked ‘Informal Incapacitated Admissions, a Bygone Era?’ and answered his own question by stating ‘Yes!’ and walking off stage. it transpires that the Law Commission are attempting to integrate the situation with DoLS into Mental Health Act practice (a quarter of a million people in the UK are currently deprived of their liberty according to Neil). Neil’s view was that the proposals as they currently stand will introduce a kind of Business class service for people who are objecting to their detention (as they would be entitled to better safeguards) and Economy for those who do not object. Surely then this would lead to a ridiculous situation where people would object in order to receive a higher standard of professional attention, which could also impact on entitlement to free 117 aftercare. He urged us to email the Law Commission with our concerns. Read More

The Dementia Challenge Conference

By | Media, Mental Capacity Act | No Comments

On Tuesday I was thrilled to be on the panel at the Dementia Challenge Conference in London where a brilliant range of speakers educated us about various dementia related topics. Here I pick out some of the points that I found the most interesting and encouraging:

Alistair Burns could not be with us but sent us a video in which he informed us that diagnosis rates are improving – up from 42% to 61% in the last year. We are also making huge inroads with Dementia Friendly communities and in particular the Dementia Friends project which has now attracted 1 million ‘friends’.

Sally Warren, Deputy Chief Inspector for CQC, illustrated ways in which CQC is looking to improve on the findings of their “Cracks in the Pathway” report which looked into transitions from hospitals to homes. They discovered that 90% of care was variable and there were few examples of cases where people with dementia had encountered good practice every step of the way. They have launched a campaign called ‘Good Enough for Mum’ which emphasises that all care must be as good as we would want for our dearly loved relatives. CQC has also introduced a section into all hospital reports titled ‘Meeting people with dementia’s needs’. Read More

Dementia Awareness Week

By | Pathways news | No Comments

Every year, when Dementia Awareness Week rolls round, I think of how far we have come in the last year in terms of how we engage with people with dementia and their carers. Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities have made enormous strides in this area and are to be highly commended on their passion, drive and achievements. The Dementia Action Alliance continues to meet and discuss the areas of priority for our client group, and the Dementia Challenge conference next month builds on the government’s dedication to defeating dementia. Sadly I do see the phrase ‘dementia sufferer’ continually raise its ugly head in articles and TV programmes but I firmly believe that we are embracing the idea of living well with dementia and are continuing to demonstrate that people with dementia have a positive role to play in society. Hopefully our own little charity will continue to contribute by engaging with people face to face to take the fear out of the dementia journey.

The Care Act

By | Paying for Care, The Care Act 2014 | No Comments

I fully approve of the aims of the Care Act which seeks to move service users from a position of passivity to one of empowerment. I think that the suggested care cap on residential care home fees will appease those who see their savings/assets/inheritance swallowed up by the local authority and are deeply unhappy about it (I come across many such people when I am out and about giving talks about the paying for care system, and I sympathise with their situation). Read More

Care costs cap

By | Paying for Care, Uncategorized | No Comments

Very interesting You&Yours on Radio Four last week about the Care Act and how it will affect people. A caller had been trying for weeks to ascertain from the local authority when and how he ought to be recording the care costs his relative was incurring so that they knew when they had reached the £72,000 ‘cap’, ie the point at which the government starts to pay for care. Weeks of banging his head against a brick wall with the health professionals was resolved in two seconds when the expert on the panel pointed out that this care cap does not come in until April 2016. Additionally they highlighted the need for the implementation of the Care Act to be properly funded! Another helpful and pertinent programme from Radio Four.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

By | Court of Protection news | No Comments

I speak to many people on the phone or email who are facing a situation where they are at odds with the health professionals about where their relative (who has serious memory problems) should live. Usually the person in question is in hospital on an unrelated health matter and it has been decided that to send them home would be an unwise decision. It is interesting to me that families rarely mention DoLS unless they have read about it on their research journey. Of course this may be because when DoLS are introduced the families are kept abreast of the process and reasons for, and consequently don’t feel the need to contact us. Read More

People syphoning money

By | Financial abuse, Media | No Comments

Last week You&Yours (Radio Four) had an interesting article led by a listener who had discovered that over many years his sibling had been withdrawing large amounts of his mother’s money out of her savings account, probably without her knowledge and/or consent. The piece highlighted the difficulties in addressing this kind of financial abuse as the police are often reluctant to get involved with what they perceive to be a family dispute. I spoke to a caller once who had experienced a similar situation – expecting to inherit about £50,000 when his mother died he was disamyed to discover that the savings account was empty. An investigation revealed that five years earlier his sister had taken their mother to the bank and got her name onto her mum’s bank account through what is called a Third Party Mandate. The caller was sure his mother had no idea what this change to her account meant and would have been horrified to learn that it had enabled his sister to tranfer large sums of cash into her own account. Read More

Update on our charity

By | Pathways news | No Comments

Dear All,

As you can see we have been targetted by thousands of spammers over the summer who have run amock as my three year old has run amock and kept me too busy to turn my attentions to my Blog! Our website designer is hopefully going to deal with this shortly.

In the meantime, an update: I continue to answer emails and phonecalls from people who are dealing with various legal difficulties along their dementia journey. We have talks lined up for the Autumn and New Year, details of which can be found on our App which can be downloaded for free from the App store (search for Dementia SOS). Read More

Employers for Carers publish new research paper

By | Media | No Comments

On March 25th, Employers for Carers published a research paper titled ‘Supporting employees who are caring for someone with dementia’, the conclusions of which echo that of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s 2013 paper ‘The sandwich generation: Older women balancing work and care’. Essentially there are many many people who are working and caring for relatives who have memory problems. The strain that this places on employees is huge and can lead to them reducing their hours or leaving work altogether. Read More

Whistleblowing – abuse of powers of attorney

By | Court of Protection news, Media, Mental Capacity Act | No Comments

There was a brilliant edition of Money Box Live on Radio Four yesterday when Alan Eccles, the Public Guardian, answered enquiries from the public about the workings of his office (Office of the Public Guardian – administrative arm of the Court of Protection). He highlighted a helpine for people who want to report attorneys they believe are misusing their powers in any way. The number is 0115 934 2777 and he assured listeners that their identity would remain confidential if they needed to ring that helpline. Read More