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A terrible situation really - Carers UK Forum

A terrible situation really

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There's me and my brothers. Mum and dad divorced years ago. Our dad was a nasty, monster of a man. He drank, beat our mum up and made all our lives a misery. He never showed kindness let alone love to any of us. We all grew up and left one by one, all traumatised by his behaviour and hating him. My brothers are all in their 40's and have never married and generally bear the scars of witnessing a dreadful childhood and example of an ill-matched marriage of our parents. We have all made happy successful lives and so has our mum, despite this awful father who did nothing but make us utterly miserable.

Eventually mum got the courage to leave and divorce him. So for the last 20 years or so, none of us have ever had anything to do with him. He continued living in the old family home all this time while our mum made herself a new life and we are all very close to her. She is 75 and we adore her. He must now be 80.

Just before Christmas one of my brothers decided to pay dad a visit. What he saw was truly dreadful. Apparently our dad did not recognise him and it is clear he has dementia as he kept repeating the same words over and over again. The house was an absolute rubbish tip and smelled awful. My brother was so upset to see this. I mean our dad is now an elderly frail and suffering man who allows nobody to care or clean the house as far as we know because he is paranoid as he always was. I think he was always mentally unstable and now he really is on his last legs.

All of us are now wondering whether it is possible to alert social services anonymously perhaps. Surely the authorities should step in and put him into a nursing home or something? None of us feel we owe him a thing, no way are we prepared to do anything for him. Our mum still hates him completely. However, he is still a human being and I wonder how long he can live isolated like this? Any ideas as to how we can help without becoming involved?
Your dad counts as a vulnerable adult, and Social Services have "Adult Protection" or "Safeguarding" procedures to follow. I suggest that one of you, ideally the brother who visited, get in touch with Social Services in dad's home area. Make sure you stress the seriousness of the situation. If you know who the GP is, alert the GP too. The surgery may have a health visitor or District Nurse who can visit. Is the house cold? I once saved someone's life by alerting the GP of an elderly lady living in a freezing cold house. She was so used to it like that that she didn't realise that she was suffering from hypothermia - I deliberately shook her hand when I left to make a rough check of her body temperature. Not a perfect measurement, but a rough guide. I was ffffreezing in her house with lots of clothes on, she just had usual indoor clothes on. Do not delay, you do not want this on your own conscience should anything happen. Under extreme circumstances, the GP/Social Services could ensure that dad was admitted to hospital, against his will, if all else failed. Hope that helps.
Ring social services they have a duty of care towards him
Thanks so much for this advice. I will speak to my brothers and do this. It really is best if he goes into hospital or a home as I cannot imagine he is coping at all. I don't hate him any longer actually, I just feel pity for him. Yet I am a responsible person and do not want another human being to be suffering like this.
It truly is a terrible situation for you all, but I agree with the others, get your Brother to ring Social Services and I hope that they can help you all.
My brother has just said that our father allows nobody to come in and has sent social services away in the past. He reckons nobody can make him do anything. I think if he has dementia, surely they can and in fact must?
If he in danger without his permission social services can get involved
Hi Tracie,
that makes sense. After all he could burn the house down. I think he would also be violent and dangerous, even in his old age, to any carer. He always did resort to his fists. Now he is showing clear signs of dementia, he cannot possibly be coping with anything.
I would be happy if they got him into a nursing home where he would be warm, fed and have the correct medicines.
It's probably a case of having to use the Mental Health Act to get him sectioned for short-term observation - that's a job for his GP and a psychiatrist to decide, I would think, though social work has a key role too.
Section 2 (s2) allows a person to be admitted to hospital for an assessment of their mental health and receive any necessary treatment. Assessment can cover whether you suffer from a mental disorder, which type of mental disorder you have or how you might respond to treatment. An admission to hospital under s2 is usually used when you have not been assessed in hospital before or when you have not been assessed in hospital for a considerable period of time.

How is a section 2 carried out?

An application for admission to hospital under a s2 must be made by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) or your nearest relative. They must have seen you within 14 days of making the application. In addition you must be seen by two separate doctors, one of whom has been approved under the Mental Health Act. The doctors must have seen you within 5 days of each other. Admission to hospital must be arranged within 14 days of the last medical examination.

How long can I be detained for?

You can be detained for up to 28 days but does not necessarily mean you will be. S2 cannot be renewed but you may be transferred onto a section 3 (see below).

What are my rights on a section 2?

You may be given a Patient Rights Leaflet by a member of the hospital staff which explains your legal rights. You have the right to appeal against detention to a Tribunal during the first 14 days that you are detained. You also have the right to appeal to the Mental Health Act managers. You are entitled to request the assistance of a Independent Mental Health Advocate who can assist you to raise any issues you have in relation to your care and treatment.

Can I be treated against my will?

Under s2, you do not have the right to refuse treatment. Some treatments however, cannot be given to you without your consent unless specific criteria are fulfilled. These treatments include electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). If you are unhappy about the treatment you are receiving you should talk to your named nurse or psychiatrist. An Independent Mental Health Advocate may be able to help you put your case forward.

Who can discharge me?

You can be discharged from s2 by]
Someone needs to call social services or the gp