Stonegate Legal Ltd
Stonegate Legal are specialist private client solicitors based in Yorkshire. We are dedicated to safeguarding the welfare and financial affairs of those suffering from mental incapacity. Our specialist team advises individuals, their families and carers, trustees, local authorities, charities and other professionals on a broad range of issues relating to capacity including the law and procedure of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, ongoing financial management and planning.
- 5 December 2016
- Yorkshire and Humber
- Local Alliances:
- Leeds Dementia Action Alliance
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
We have significant experience in assisting clients in the preparation of their Lasting Powers of Attorney or where capacity has been lost, assisting in the application to the Court for a deputy to be appointed. The application process is lengthy and complicated so carefully drafted applications are important in achieving timely, cost effective results.
As well as assisting lay deputies and local authorities a member of the Stonegate team is on the panel of professional deputies and is frequently appointed by the Court of Protection to act as professional deputy for patients who no longer have capacity to make decisions about their own financial affairs. This will often include complex financial abuse cases where it will be necessary to investigate such financial abuse with the view to taking recovery action where possible.
Many clients are conscious of the rising cost of care fees, as such professional advice with regard to your care options and entitlement to funding care fees is more important than ever before. We can advise on the implications of care costs and in relation to the DWP, local authority, and NHS benefit assessments and assist clients and their families in raising appeals against unfavourable decisions.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
The most common challenges are as follows: -
Patients not receiving appropriate needs and continuing healthcare assessments;Patients being subjected to unnecessary and prolonged stays in hospital where local authorities have been unable or delayed in their duty to locate an appropriate residential or nursing home;Local authorities requesting that patients or family members “top-up” care fees;The continuing healthcare process itself can seem complicated to those who do not have experience of it. In our experience appeals have taken anything up to 3 years to resolve;Completion of financial assessments in line with the Care Act and applying the relevant exemptions;Application of the Care Act generally has been misinterpreted and the overriding welfare principle is often overlooked;Failure to apply s.117 funding under the MHA 2005 appropriately;Difficulties in providing support and funding to those people who wish and are able to live in their own homes or in supported living;Difficulties in accessing the Court of Protection;Difficulties with financial institutions and their recognition of appropriate authorities;The application of the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act and the application of best interests under s.4.
Completing dementia friends training for staff.
Assisting staff with accessing dementia friends training which can then be rolled out to all staff in the office.
Delivering articles relating to supporting those with dementia
Stonegate Legal will publish on their websites and share on social media articles relating to how we can help patients with dementia and their families with subjects such as financial planning, care advice, Will preparation, appointeeships, attorneyships and deputyships. This will include what patients should expect of other organisations such as local authorities and the NHS.
To complete a fundraising event
Stonegate Legal are signed up to complete the Alzheimer's memory walk and will be raising funds in recognition of those with the disease.
Providing pro bono work to the Office of the Public Guardian
A member of our team is on the panel of professional deputies who are appointed by the Public Guardian to act as deputy in cases where patients have no appropriate person to act on their behalf.
Where a patient finds themselves without sufficient funds or in financial difficulty we will often act on a pro bono basis.
Stonegate Legal would like to work more closely with care homes, charities and local authorities (but to name a few) to deliver training and advice on topics that affect patients with dementia. This could include training and advice relating to the duty of care owed by the local authority and NHS, care fees, Will preparation, Court applications.
We feel that training around the implementiation of the Care Act is crucial. This includes the rights a patient has to choice and influence over decisions that are made about their care, this is often overlooked and funding often overshadows the wishes and feelings of a patient.