Care home resident must have communication with family during outbreak – judge

Care home bosses must make sure an elderly resident who cannot have visits because of the coronavirus crisis has “effective communication” with relatives, a judge has said.

Mr Justice Hayden said staff should be creative in their attempts to keep the pensioner, who has Alzheimer’s disease and is deaf, in touch with his family during the crisis.

He considered the man’s case at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges make rulings relating to people who do not have the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves, on Wednesday.

The man’s daughter had raised concerns about relatives being unable to visit him at the care home.

She said the judge should consider allowing her father to go home until the crisis ended.

Care home bosses had suggested that the man might communicate via a computer link or through a window.

Mr Justice Hayden said Court of Protection judges could be asked to consider similar issues, relating to care home residents unable to take decisions for themselves, in coming weeks.

The judge said neither the pensioner, who is aged in his eighties, nor the care home could be named in media reports of the case.

He said Surrey County Council (pictured) had welfare responsibilities for residents at the care home.

Mr Justice Hayden concluded the pensioner should stay at the care home.

The judge said a return home would not be in the man’s best interests.

“He should stay where he is,” the judge stated.

“I want them (staff) to use all the creative options at their disposal to see that there can be some kind of effective communication between him and his family,” he added.

Mr Justice Hayden, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court, conducted the hearing via Skype.

He said he would produce a written ruling outlining the reasoning behind his decision soon.

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