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A Solicitor's Advice on Court of Protection during Covid -19

View profile for Jacqueline White
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This weekend the BBC reported that, based on statistics released by the National Care Forum, more than 4,000 elderly and disabled people in residential care are likely to have died from Covid-19.

In order to protect residents as much as possible, care homes across the UK have closed their doors to visitors for an undetermined period of time. 

Whilst clearly it is vital that, as a society, we protect our elderly and vulnerable, this move has isolated that very same group of people and separated them from their family and friends.  The vulnerable and elderly may not understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, they may wonder why their friends and family are no longer visiting and the change of routine will likely prove unsettling for them.

As a consequence, the Court of Protection which safeguards the rights and interests of society’s most vulnerable, have, following a recent case,  called for a balanced and proportionate response to this difficult situation.  Indeed the Court commented that in the context of coronavirus the State’s obligation is to ensure a quality for people with disabilities and to guard against them being inadvertently left behind by a system which deprioritises them in the urgency of a response to crisis. 

As such care homes have been encouraged to use platforms such as WhatsApp, video chat, Zoom video conferencing and FaceTime to allow their residents to spend time with families virtually.  Visitors are encouraged to attend at care homes but to observe social distancing, remain outside and speak to their loved one through a ground floor window.  Creative thinking is called for and both care providers and families must be encouraged to adapt that creative thinking to the needs of their residents and loved ones. 

This may very well be a big ask of our care providers at a time of national emergency.  In terms of family and friends, emotions will no doubt be running high at the prospect of not seeing a loved one properly.  As such, if resolution cannot be achieved even despite everyone’s best efforts, then the Court of Protection can be called upon to make a decision in the best interests of the elderly and vulnerable individuals involved where there is a lack of mental capacity.

Currently all our meetings with clients are observing the social distancing rules, we are conducting telephone appointments and are able to offer advice on any care home concerns you may have.

 

If you are concerned that the current and ongoing restrictions affecting you or a loved one or you want to make an application to the Court of Protection then please contact Jacqueline White for specialist advice and guidance on 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.