People with learning difficulties denied access to their rooms

Care home residents with learning difficulties are having their
human rights infringed by being denied access to their bedrooms
during the day and not being allowed to come and go as they wish,
according to an investigation by the Commission for Health
Improvement, writes Amy Taylor.

However, the investigation into services for people with
learning difficulties provided by Bedfordshire and Luton Community
NHS Trust uncovered no evidence to substantiate allegations of
physical abuse.

CHI found that, in one home, bedroom doors were kept locked
during the day, and residents were not allowed into their rooms
until bedtime.

In another home, windows and doors were kept chained to contain
one client with challenging behaviour, preventing other residents
from moving around as they pleased.

Dr Michael O’Rourke, clinical director of the trust’s
learning disability services, said the residents’ bedrooms were
locked to protect people’s property from others, and that residents
could access their own rooms by asking a member of staff.

The investigation made 17 recommendations to the trust,
including the urgent need to agree on a human resources strategy,
and the need to train care staff in the principles of the
government’s Valuing People learning difficulty strategy. O’Rourke
said that 13 of these had already been completed or were being
worked on.

David Congdon, head of external relations at learning difficulty
charity Mencap, said the report indicated a “benign neglect,
with not enough focus on the quality of life and the needs of the
users of the homes”.

‘Investigation into Learning Disability Services
provided by the Bedfordshire and Luton Community NHS Trust’


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