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Court of Protection Judge offers advice on interpreting dementia sufferers behaviour

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A Judge sitting in the Court of Protection has issued guidance on how the behaviour of people with dementia may be interpreted, as part of efforts to assist relatives who have been given responsibility for the individuals’ welfare.

There have been concerns that it is often difficult for loved ones to have a clear understanding about whether matters concerning people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease need to be referred to the court.

Of particular difficulty are cases in which an individual with dementia has had to be moved to a care home, as is often the case when they no longer have the capacity to care for themselves.

In many instances, relatives find it incredibly difficult to ascertain whether the behaviour of those suffering with the neurological condition is simply a symptom of the illness or a genuine dissatisfaction with the arrangements.

Mr Justice Baker, sitting at a hearing in London, has analysed five test cases, relating to elderly people living in the west of England.

He said that relatives should consider whether a person with dementia had attempted to leave the premises or packed their bags and, if so, how often this had occurred.

A ruling on the cases in question is likely to be published in the coming weeks.

At Lester Morrill, our specialist Court of Protection solicitors are experienced in working with vulnerable individuals and their families, friends and care teams to ensure the best possible outcome. We currently manage cases involving private clients, solicitors, local authorities, referrals from the court and case managers. We also advise on matters relating to health and welfare, receiving referrals from family members and advocates. Please contact our team for further information.