Laura Sharman 10 May 2017

Judge calls for end of ‘inhumane’ separation of elderly couples in care homes

Judge calls for end of ‘inhumane’ separation of elderly couples in care homes image

Separating elderly couples when one or both of them go into care is ‘inhumane’, a senior judge has said.

Sir James Murphy, president of the High Court’s family division, called on social workers to do their best to keep couples together, and put personal happiness before health and safety concerns.

Speaking at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Sir Murphy warned that being suddenly separated from a partner could be fatal.

Margaret Willcox, president of ADASS, said: ‘Social workers work hard and sensitively to safeguard the rights of older people and do whatever they can to keep couples together if that’s what they want.

'There are always 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.

'Social care frequently involves helping people during some of the most difficult times of their lives and the importance of social workers and social care needs to be more widely recognised.'

The power of local systems to save lives image

The power of local systems to save lives

Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
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