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Enforced personal care in residential care home


Registered User
Aug 1, 2014

My Dad has dementia and has been living in a care home since last November. His main reason for being there is down to him not managing his catheter care and frequently removing the catheter. Also, refusing to allow carers to help with personal care - he was very unclean and smelly.

Anyway, since Dad has been in care he has had 2 instances of removing his catheter, which is a big improvement on before. He has settled in quite well and seems to be well cared for.

However, he still is very reluctant to allow carers to help him wash or change clothing, and refuses to do it himself. Occasionally, family can get him to change some clothes but not to have a wash. He will let me cut his nails and hair but that is about it.

Today his carer rang to say that care staff had made a "best interest decision" to shower dad as he was at risk of skin problems. Apparently, they "forced" him to have a shower today, which I believe involved him becoming very distressed and slapping a member of staff. Now they are saying that they may need to move Dad into EMI nursing care due to his "aggressive" behaviour.

While I do understand that Dad needs to have his personal care dealt with to prevent health problems, I am shocked to hear that they can use a best interest decision to force this upon him. Also, I don't think it is fair for them to judge Dad's behaviour on his response to them forcing him to have a shower, as it was inevitable he would become angry and potentially aggressive. The rest of the time he is quite fine, and not actually what I would consider a high level of care needs in relation to his dementia or his physical abilities.

Does anybody know whether the care home were legally right to force dad to have a shower? And, is his reaction to it enough for them to start talking about a move to EMI nursing? My worry is that it has taken him a while to settle where he is, so it would be such a shame for him to have to move again.



Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
West Hertfordshire
How long is it since he last showered?
Would he have preferred a bath
Will he wash/be washed

I guess there comes a point, not only for his own well being, but for those around him, that it simply has to happen.

No, I wouldn't be happy, but perhaps it depends on the frequency that this meeting determined it should happen.

Do you think they did everything they could before forcing the issue? it does sound as though it was thought out, not spur of the moment decision.

I wonder if male carers could be nominated to do it, rather than females- I wonder if he'd deal better with bloke than women.


Registered User
May 21, 2014
You should not ever "force" someone to wash. Yes, hygiene is important but a care home should know ways to gently coax people into it. I hope they did not hold him down or something, that would be terrible, and even the most complacent person would get aggressive then, I am sure. This really upsets me just thinking about it. Wouldn't a gentle wash by hand with wet wipes have been enough?