Mrs Lomas had been married for 60 years and had two sons and two daughters. However, the relationship with her husband had long been difficult and was deteriorating. Over the last few years her health had worsened, resulting in her requiring more and more help with daily tasks. Unknown to her, the family decided that she should be moved into a nursing home, but she was told this was a temporary arrangement and none of her personal possessions was moved with her. Once there, Mrs Lomas became very distressed and expressed a wish to go back home. It became apparent that she had capacity to make her own decisions, but had not been consulted about the move. In addition, she was unaware that her own money was being used to pay for the placement under a Power of Attorney. While in the home, Mrs Lomas was assessed as not needing nursing care, or even residential care, although she was suffering from severe depression.
A safeguarding enquiry was initiated. The family said that their decision had been made “for her own good”, but along with Mrs Lomas, they agreed to an FGC to try to resolve matters. Mrs Lomas accepted the offer of an advocate to support her at the meeting and spent time with her preparing what she wanted to say. Mrs Lomas wrote her own notes about how she felt and what she wanted.
At the FGC, the referring social worker presented Mrs Lomas and her family with information about the concerns and explained several options which could be considered. Mrs Lomas, supported by her advocate, spoke very clearly about what she wanted and how she felt about what had happened. With her advocate by her side, Mrs Lomas could express her own opinions, with a little assistance when needed. The family said they had been unaware that there were other options available.
The outcome of the FGC was that Mr and Mrs Lomas decided to sell their house to enable each to live independently. Mrs Lomas chose a placement in a ‘shared lives’ scheme, which by the time of the FGC Review (10 weeks later) was considered by everyone to be a great success. Mrs Lomas confirmed that she now had her jewellery and other personal items and was very happy with the new arrangement. The shared lives scheme carers attended the review and confirmed that they all got on very well together, and the intention was that Mrs Lomas would remain with them for the foreseeable future.
A service provider who attended the FGC commented: “A massive change to her quality of life. Having her voice heard as an individual and not just ‘Stan’s wife’. A fantastic service. Everyone involved has been professional yet thoughtful in the process”.