Following on from our Independent Living investigation, where disabled journalist Fleur Perry discovered that some councils may be limiting disabled people’s choices on where they live, she’s put together a checklist to help you determine whether your rights may have been breached.
Have you had a needs assessment that included your emotional and psychological needs?
Just as we all need food, air, shelter and warmth, we need to be able to do the things that interest us, spend time with the people with love, and try new things and meet new people.
Is the care home the council have chosen actually suitable for your needs?
Are the staff trained to meet your needs? Is there enough staffing to give you the support you need when you need it? Is there enough space to safely use and store any equipment you need?
Are there empty bedrooms in the homes the council are talking about?
Places that are unavailable can’t be counted in. For example, a council might offer you a choice of three care homes, but when you contact them only one actually has a bedroom free. So you’re now choosing from a list of one – the choice has been removed.
Can the homes give a clear explanation of how they have decided how much the council will be charged?
“Because the council said so” isn’t a great answer.
Have the council told you what would happen if you said “Care home? No thank you!”?
You need to be given all the information about all of the options before being asked to make a decision.
Have the council asked you why you want to stay at home and counted it into their decision making?
The things that are meaningful for you must be taken into account.
Yes or no?
If the answer to any of these questions is a no, the council may be acting outside of the law. You have a right to ask them to go back and do it right.
You also have the right to take the council to Judicial Review – a judge can tell them to start again if they’ve acted outside of the law.
If you think your council are ignoring your rights, please seek legal advice.
The list above was written with the help of Belinda Schwehr of CASCAIDr, which offers free legal advice for people with Adult Social Care needs.
By Fleur Perry