Can Someone Be Forced Into A Care Home - Know Your Rights

Find out about your rights when it comes to elderly care and how to plan ahead to ensure your wishes are met in the future.

As you get older, you might have started thinking about elderly care options. It is wise to think about your care before anything happens that means you may no longer have the ability to choose.

forced into a care home

It makes sense to think about the future in such a practical way because 2 in every 100 older people develop dementia and one stroke occurs every 5 minutes in the UK. These are just a couple of examples of reasons you might need care, and reasons you might not be able to exercise your own choice over the type of care you have. To have the kind of future that you want, you should think and plan ahead, before anything compromises your ability to choose for yourself.

Thinking about choice, it may also have crossed your mind that you might at some point be forced into a care home – perhaps even against your will. Although this thought can be extremely worrying, it is important to know your rights, particularly if you are concerned that social services can force you into a care home. There is an alternative in the form of professional home care or live-in care.

Can An Elderly Person Be Forced Into Care?

In the UK, the general answer to this question is no – you cannot be forced into a care home. If you have all your mental faculties, whether or not you are deemed able to care for yourself, you can arrange professional care at home for yourself, even if Social Services recommend a care home.

what is live in care

If you’re willing to receive care in your own home from a professional carer, then there should be no conflict with family, friends and social workers. If you feel strongly against moving to a residential care home then you can have professional care in your own home.

Don’t Want to Go Into a Care Home? 3 Reasons You’re Right Not To. Click here to find out more…

However, Social Services do have a duty of care and so they have to assess your needs as an older adult, and ensure any services that are required are in place. If you’re wondering can social services force someone into a care home the answer is only if your care needs are not being met in your home. Then they can place you in an environment where they believe your needs will be met.

In all instances they will try to persuade you, or the person in need of care, to be in a place they believe will be the safest and where care needs will be met. In some situations this may relate to the safety of others, as in circumstances where a person with dementia has become violent to others. But remember, almost all care needs can be met at home with the right professional live-in care, including care for those with dementia.

Live-in Care: A Primary Option Before Care Homes

Social Services suggest that any concerned family members or friends speak to them about their relative and the concerns they have for their safety. If you’re thinking can social services put my mother in a home – don’t worry.  In most instances they will arrange a care assessment and if there is a strong preference to remain at home they can arrange for a carer to attend the person’s home at regular intervals to provide them with the care they need.

Live-in care is also an option for those with greater care needs – where a professional carer lives in the home of the elderly person requiring care – so make sure you discuss this option with Social Services if they are involved. With live-in care you are able to remain in your home safely and independently whilst a trained carer lives with you 24/7 and helps you with whatever tasks you struggle with alone. This type of care is entirely tailored to your needs and provides much more 1-to-1 contact with a carer resulting in better health outcomes.

Social Services obligations

Social Services have certain obligations when placing an elderly person into a care home. Local authorities can make the decision to move someone into care, against their wishes or their family’s wishes, in the following situations:

  • if their care needs are not being met at home
  • if the elderly person is a risk to the safety of other people living in their home
  • if the person is incapable of making a decision themselves regarding their care.

However, local authorities are legally obliged to follow guidance that allows the elderly person to have a genuine choice about where they live. Any decision taken must genuinely be in the best interests of the individual and must consider alternative options to achieve the same outcome. In the case of mental incapacity this situation requires the local authority to have made a mental capacity assessment.

Financially it makes sense to prepare for elderly care if you will be self-funding. This kind of financial planning will enable you to protect your future and ensure you will have the kind of care that you want. You can even detail the care you would like in the eventuality that you are unable to make decisions for yourself any more. In this instance you must have a family member you trust placed in charge of your care, and your financial affairs so that you can be assured they will carry out your wishes.

Here is a useful booklet to help you find out more about funding later life care:

Care Funding Guidance

It is also a good idea to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor that has experience in financial planning for elderly care, and to speak to your family about your plans.

How to avoid being moved into a care home against your wishes

Sometimes it is not possible to stay in your own home but it is possible to plan ahead to ensure you have as much control as possible regarding the type of care you receive and where it is delivered. Here are the things you should be doing to plan ahead:

  • Make a Lasting Power of Attorney for your health and welfare in addition to one for your financial affairs
  • Adapt your home to make it more suitable should you have mobility problems
  • Write to your solicitor with explicit guidelines regarding your care wishes
  • Investigate alternative types of care such as homecare or live-in care, which is available nationwide