Disabled woman who ‘hates’ being in care facility should be allowed to return home, judge rules

A disabled woman who “hates” being in a care facility and wants to go home has won a fight in a specialist court.

The woman is diabetic and has mental health difficulties – and a judge had been told she was unable to “engage” with carers when at home and had become seriously ill.

Judge Simon Burrows had concluded that she did not have the capacity to make decisions about her residence and care.

He had approved a plan under which the woman was forced to move to a specialist care facility for several months so she could be assessed.

But the woman said she hated being in the care facility and health authority and council bosses responsible for her care had returned to court and asked the judge to decide what was in her best interests.

Judge Burrows has now decided that she can return home, after considering arguments at a Court of Protection hearing in Preston, Lancashire.

He said removing the woman’s “right to her liberty” would not properly recognise her “right as a disabled person” to be “afforded respect and dignity for the way she wishes to live her life”.

The judge has outlined his decision in a ruling published online.

He said the woman, who is in her 40s, could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire County Council (pictured) had asked him to make decisions.

Court of Protection judges consider issues relating to people who may lack the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves.

Lawyers representing health authority and council bosses said evidence indicated that it was best for the woman to remain in the care facility.

But the judge said barrister Ben McCormack, who represented the woman, had put her “wishes and feelings” into “proper context”.

“(Her) wishes and feelings are clear,” said the judge.

“She hates being at (the care facility) and she wants to go home.”

He said he had concluded it was not in the woman’s best interests to remain at the care facility, even though there were risks .

“In her own home she will receive social care and will be able to access the community with or without support,” he said.

“District nurses will be able to provide (her) with diabetes care.

“It is uncertain whether she will engage with them and whether she will be able to keep herself well.

“There is a risk she will not be able to do this. There is a real risk she will suffer a decline – gradual or sudden.

“There is a risk she will find herself back in hospital and then in care afterwards again. There is a risk she will die.

“However, in my judgment she has the right to her liberty and to remove it from her would be a devastating blow to her and would not properly recognise her right as a disabled person to be afforded respect and dignity for the way she wishes to live her life.”

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