Safeguarding dementia patients on discharge from general hospital: the role of relatives under the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This paper explores the role of family members and friends in the best interests decision-making process under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in England and Wales. It questions whether, in the absence of Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs), close family and friends of older patients with dementia are capable of fulfilling a safeguarding function when decisions are being made about where those patients should live on discharge from general hospital. Our findings are grounded in ethnographic ward-based observations and qualitative interviews conducted in three hospital wards, in two hospitals (acute and rehabilitation), within two NHS healthcare trusts in the North of England. Our results show that relatives struggled to safeguard the rights of incapacitated patients with dementia when professional residence capacity and best-interests decisions were made about living arrangements and relatives were often ill-equipped or unsuitable to carry out this safeguarding role. Our conclusions suggest that family and friends can only begin to act as an effective safeguard for those they care about if information from and communication with social and health professionals is improved and close family and friends are involved more fully in the hospital discharge planning process. This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit programme (PB-PG-0906-11122).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2014
EventNorthumbria Research seminar series - Northumbria University
Duration: 29 Oct 2014 → …

Workshop

WorkshopNorthumbria Research seminar series
Period29/10/14 → …

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