The following stories illustrate an approach to care and support based on equality and human rights, and the difference it can make. There are further examples in the equality and human rights guidance for each of the key sections of the essential standards.
Tea without sugar (Article 8)
“Placing my mum, who had severe dementia, into a care home was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I was desperate to make sure the staff treated her as the person I knew – my mum. I remember the day I moved her in, telling the manager all the things my mum liked and disliked. She especially disliked sugar in her tea. The first time I visited, the staff were serving afternoon tea. I noticed they put two sugars in every cup. I said to the member of staff, “My mum doesn’t take sugar”, to which she replied, “It doesn’t matter – she won’t know anyway”.”
The absence of dignity and respect in the above example is in stark contrast with the following example, in which the preferences of a woman in a care home were sensitively noted so that her care was exactly as she wanted:
“I wear a light nightdress. I like a cup of tea before bed and when in bed please close the door. I would prefer to be washed and dressed by a female carer.”
Where a person has been subjected to restraint, Article 8 (the right to private and family life) will be engaged. Consideration will need to be given as to whether the action taken was justified under Article 8 (that is that the reason for using the restraint falls within the grounds set out in Article 8, for example, for the protection of the person’s health and that the action taken was necessary to achieve this aim and was proportionate to that particular situation). There may be cases where the restraint used does not comply with the requirements under Article 8. It may also amount to a deprivation of liberty, thereby engaging Article 5 (right to liberty). In some cases the circumstances in which the restraint was used (such as the level of force used, its duration and impact on the person concerned and the age, disability or state of health of the person) may give rise to a breach of Article 3 (freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).