‘Women ignored in decision-making’

Women with severe learning difficulties are having their human
rights breached because they are not being involved in decisions
about their future, according to a report by the learning
difficulty charity the Judith Trust.

Its study of the transfer of 11 women from a locked ward in an
unnamed long-stay hospital to the community finds that it was a
negative experience for all the women, causing anxiety and

“The women lacked control over the process of transition,” the
report says. “They were excluded from decision-making and given
little or no information about plans for their future.”

Those who were perceived to have the most severe difficulties were
given the least preparation, information and involvement.

The report, which was published last week and is supported by
community care minister Stephen Ladyman, highlights that little
information about the women was given to staff who cared for them
in their new homes and they had insufficient support during the

For most, little changed in their lives as a result of the move to
the community as their routine continued to be structured by
others, they had limited access to activities and the social
isolation from their local communities continued.

The charity calls for a named senior manager to ensure that people
with learning difficulties are involved in all aspects of their
transfer and that their emotional needs are adequately supported.
Information about them must be transferred to the staff based in
their new accommodation.

It recommends that staff who worked with the individuals in the
hospitals be seconded to their new homes to ensure continuity, and
that person-centred planning is at the heart of any move.

 Going Home? is available from judith.trust@lineone.net

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