Older people and home care At its best, home care: –Helps people to stay in their own home –Supports independence and self- determination –Promotes dignity and respect
Older people and home care When home care fails –People can be left without support to eat and drink left unwashed for days unable to engage with their culture, practice their religion or develop relationships rushed, handled roughly, financially exploited – abused isolated and lonely
Human rights UK Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) expresses the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic law Public service and social care values of dignity, respect, fairness and choice support each person’s human rights
Obligations and duties As representatives of public authorities elected members must act in line with the wide range of rights and freedoms protected by the HRA and Because of the HRA elected members must also take positive steps to promote and protect HRA rights
Just to be clear… Public authorities also have duties under the Equality Act 2010. The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires public authorities to consider the need to advance equality and eliminate discrimination. Often an Equality Impact Assessment is used to demonstrate that the PSED has been met, although this is not a legal requirement.
Home care Most relevant HRA Articles: Right to life (Article 2) – can be breached if an inadequate level of support leads to physical or mental deterioration which contributes to a person’s death Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 3) – any treatment which causes serious mental or physical harm Right to liberty and security (Article 5) – no-one should be deprived of their liberty (for example being locked into their home) unless proper procedures are followed
Home care Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence (Article 8) – can include –Privacy to make phone calls, right not to share information –Ensuring personal modesty is protected –Acceptance or refusal of particular services –Eating, sleeping or dressing according to personal preference –Being with who you want, when you want
Home care Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9) – to practise one’s faith, alone or with others, observing dietary or other requirements Right not to be discriminated against (Article 14) – in relation to another right protected by the HRA Right to protection of property (Article 1 of the first Protocol) – includes financial rights and keeping belongings safe
What positive steps can elected members take to help promote and protect the human rights of older people receiving home care?
Talk the talk… Remember and communicate shared core values of dignity, respect, choice, fairness and equality which reflect human rights obligations Ask questions in your decision making or scrutiny role when services are being commissioned – use the ‘Question suggestions’ in this resource pack to examine the quality of service outcomes, sustainability, safeguarding and personalisation Dispel myths in the community and with colleagues by using accurate facts about human rights which protect everyone – ‘Quickfacts and Sources’ and ‘Myths and Minefields’ are useful tools Check out news reports – dig deeper and use the sources links
…and walk the walk Apply core values consistently – in decision or policy making, scrutiny and community leadership Leadership and the law – you have obligations under the HRA and the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010 Ensure service/contractual obligations include the requirement for service providers to ‘act as though they were a public body under the HRA’
Remember The Human Rights Act protects everyone equally – sensationalist headlines can be misleading Older people are some of the most vulnerable in our communities Use the resources included in the ‘Information and training toolkit for elected members’ Ask – organisations and experts if you need more information
Further information from the Equality and Human Rights Commission Close to home: an inquiry into older people and human rights in home care (2011) Guidance on human rights for commissioners of home care (2013) Close to home recommendations review (2013) Your home care and human rights (Revised ed. 2013) All these publications available at: www.equalityhumanrights.com www.equalityhumanrights.com
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