Mrs. Ogundoyin was an 89 year old woman living in an NHS-run nursing home in London. She was considered by staff to be extremely difficult, not least because she shouted continuously in the mornings. A consultant geriatrician who had worked with BIHR was very concerned by the situation and tried to understand why her behaviour was so hostile. This was challenging because the woman suffered from dementia and found it difficult to talk about her state of mind. The consultant got in touch with Mrs. Ogundoyin’s daughter who shared important information about her mother’s life prior to moving to the home. Mrs. Ogundoyin had had heavy caring responsibilities when she was younger, in addition to working long hours as a cleaner. This busy schedule meant she had become used to getting up at 5am each day for most of her adult life. It emerged that the reason she became so agitated in the mornings was because she was being left in bed until 11am each day.

The consultant explained to staff that in order to deliver a rights-respecting service, they needed to take into account the individual needs of the people in their care. In this case it meant that Mrs. Ogundoyin’s preferred routine should be taken into account as far as possible, to respect her right to respect for private life (Article 8). With a little bit of knowledge about the Human Rights Act and their responsibilities, the staff were empowered to make small but significant changes. Mrs. Ogundoyin is now helped out of bed at 5am each morning, given breakfast, and left to enjoy the rest of her morning. Her shouting and difficult behaviour has ceased, leaving Mrs. Ogundoyin and the staff much better off.