IMCA involvement in accommodation decisions and care reviews
Accommodation decisions and care reviews should consider the person's opportunity to maintain important relationships. This includes family and friends but may also extend to other service users and paid carers.
Important relationships with staff and other service users are eligible for the protection of the right to a family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (see e.g. EWHC 621(Fam) (2010). In addition to putting restrictions on statutory bodies from separating families, Article 8 also gives them obligations to actively support family life.
IMCAs will want to check the following:
- There is a good record of who is important in a person's life. Knowing who these people is essential because the person's own memory may be unreliable and changes in staff can mean that this information is lost. As well as during a person's life, this knowledge may be vital when they die.
- Services are proactive about supporting relationships, and so go beyond saying the person 'can have visitors'.
- Different ways of keeping in touch are considered. This may include the person visiting other people who, for example, may find it hard or impossible to travel themselves (they could be in hospital with a terminal illness). It may also include supporting the person to make phone calls or write birthday cards.
- Attention is given to any practical support which is necessary to maintain relationships – not only for the person but also for those people they would want to meet up with. For example, having staff available to support the contact, and meeting transport costs.
This is an area of work which may not be a high priority in all services. It is also one in which IMCAs can make a significant positive impact by, for example, making a record of who is important and making suggestions in terms of how best contact can be maintained.