Head of the family court finds it ‘shocking’ to split up couples and send one to care home

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The act of separating older couples by sending one to a care home has been called both ‘shocking’ and ‘inhumane’ by Sir James Mumby, the head of the family court.

Whilst speaking to an audience of local authority adult social care directors, Sir Mumby said professionals should think carefully about recommending a person be separated from their loved ones and home.

Councils officials gathered at the ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) Spring Seminar on the 9 May to discuss this subject.  Sir James said they should prioritise the happiness of older couples who have been together for decades over complying with safety rules.

Sir Mumby discussed cases of when people have died of a broken heart, by one person dying and then the other dying a couple of days later. He said “how long do people have if they are uprooted? A very short time”.

He said making people leave their home because it was unsafe was not right if it made them unhappy But, there are other complex issues to consider, such as how to make this work where relationships are abusive, or when one person in the couple has needs the other can’t cope with.

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