More people 'deprived of liberty'
Published on 27 March 2012 11:30 AM
A new study by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that 55% of applications by hospital and care homes to use measures which deprive people of their liberty were approved in the 12 months up to March 2011 - a rise of nine percentage points compared to the previous year.
The report also found an increase in the total number of applications for such measures, up from 7,157 to 8,982 by the end of March last year.
A rising number of staff at hospitals and care homes knew about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in 2010/11, the CQC said. However, the guidelines were not always applied correctly, as staff sometimes did not know that locking doors or using bed rails meant they were depriving people of their liberty.
The report said: 'In some care homes these practices were in operation without any consideration of whether they might constitute a deprivation of liberty.
'This will, of course, vary appropriately from case to case, but the impression is that there is a lack of consistency and confusion about what constitutes a deprivation of liberty.'
People with a restricted mental capacity can be legally restrained and deprived of their liberty if councils and primary care trusts give their approval.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director General Age Responded to the CQC Report on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, saying:
'The Deprivation of Liberty safeguards are there for a reason - to protect the rights of people who lack the mental capacity to consent to care or treatment. It is unacceptable that their implementation is so piecemeal and patchy. A Deprivation of Liberty application is an important check and balance to ensure that other alternatives for care have been thoroughly considered.
'Care home providers who haven't trained their staff and managers should do so as a matter of urgency. We look to the CQC to ensure that this is happening and take enforcement action where it isn't.'
Copyright Press Association 2012