Safeguarding adults: Mediation and family group conferences

Case study: Mr Smith

Mr Smith has a learning disability. He moved to a care home temporarily when his mother became unwell.His behaviour in the care home has become a lot more challenging so the care home has been granted an authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) to use restraint to keep him safe.

When she recovered from her illness, Mr Smith’s mother asked for the DOLS assessments to be reviewed and requested that he return home and live with her.

The local authority supervisory body carries out the review as requested but decides that Mr Smith should stay in the care home due to his challenging behaviour.Mrs Smith strongly disagrees as Mr Smith did not display challenging behaviour when at home and is constantly trying to leave the care home and return to his mother’s house.

As there is profound disagreement with the family of a person who is deprived of his liberty, the local authority must ask the Court of Protection to decide on Mr Smith’s best interests. They agree with Mrs Smith to try mediation before proceeding to the Court of Protection.

Mediation uncovers the fact that Mr Smith’s behaviour is genuinely far less challenging when he lives in the family home. All present agree that it is in his best interests the least restrictive option to live at home, with support, as before.The local authority agrees that the DOLS authorisation should be lifted, and Mr Smith returns home.