Guidance on scenario 10: Catriona


Catriona is in a care home where few members of staff speak her first language, and where inflexible policies prevent her from eating the food she chooses, where she chooses. It appears that there has been no, or little, involvement of the residents regarding the new policies.

nalysis of rights at stake

The potential human rights at stake here are:

  • Article 8 - Catriona is unable to live in the manner she chooses in her home.

  • Article 14 - Catriona’s right to a home life is been diminished because of being a Gaelic speaker.

The right to a private, home and family life can be restricted in some circumstances.

The justification for placing restrictions on where and what Catriona can eat may be to ensure that all residents are getting healthy, nutritious meals, and so that by eating together it is easier for staff to check that the residents are eating properly.

It would appear however that there is a disproportionate interference with Catriona’s rights as she is now not eating at all and is losing weight. She has also lost elements of socialisation within the home. It may be possible to improve residents’ diets but with a more flexible policy that would allow residents to eat in their rooms if they choose, with staff assisting where necessary.

dentification of shared responsibilities

The care home is responsible for ensuring that its policies do not constitute too much of an interference with residents’ rights to respect for home, private and family life.

For policies which affect the lives of residents, their formulation should involve all residents and their families. The care home should consider whether a more flexible policy can be put in place that would ensure that residents are eating healthily, and getting sufficient opportunity to socialise, while still giving them some autonomy and choice in how they live in the home.

The care home should also be aware of Catriona’s linguistic preferences and make suitable provision for this, such as, at a minimum, ensuring her television or radio are switched over to Gaelic channels.

eview actions

For example:

  • Has the care home’s policy review involved a consultation with residents and their families and have the policies been formulated so as to provide as much flexibility as possible?

  • Has Catriona been able to express her views? If not, has she been supported to do so?

  • Does Catriona’s care and support plan reflect her needs?

  • Are staff aware of Catriona’s circumstances and her views?

  • Has the situation been regularly reviewed?