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Protecting Our Parents: Who decides?

Updated Monday 14th April 2014

This episode explores the dilemma faced by elderly care services when trying to keep people living in their own homes.

Leonard Price, patient, Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC Leonard

About the episode

Kathleen and Leonard Price have lived in the same house in Birmingham for 50 years. Kathleen is bed-bound and receives social services' maximum support of four visits a day by carers. But in the past three month she has called 999 over 150 times asking for help. It is costing the NHS thousands of pounds.

The couple want to stay at home but Kathleen's care package isn't meeting her needs. She would like 24-hour care at home, but doesn't have the savings to pay for it herself.

While Kathleen is being treated in hospital, the question turns to her mental health. Before she leaves, the hospital team need to test her mental capacity to see if she understands the extent of her care needs at home - or whether her 999 calls are symptomatic of her inability to make decisions about her care.

If it is decided Kathleen lacks capacity, she may no longer be able to choose to live at home. And if she is moved into care, she may have to be separated from her husband.

This episode was first broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday 24th April 2014.


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