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Janet's Story

Janet was staying in hospital after a stroke. She had been a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II, which had led to some mental health problems. Hospital staff saw Janet re-enacting experiences from her time as a prisoner of war, like washing her clothes with rocks and hanging them out to dry on the hospital fence. After some time, hospital staff wanted to move Janet to a care home, as it would be cheaper to provide care there.

Janet’s advocate, Steve, was concerned about this decision as Janet had said she wanted to return to her own home. The hospital was pushing for the care home placement because of the mental health issues Janet was displaying. However, Steve had been working with Janet and believed that being in the hospital’s institutional setting was causing her to relive the past and a care home would make things worse.

After attending BIHR’s human rights training, Steve realised that Janet’s right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act was at risk as she wasn’t able to have a say in decisions that affected her and her mental well-being was being impacted. Steve explained to the hospital and local authority that putting Janet into residential care could breach her human rights, whereas supporting her to return home as she wanted could respect her human rights and help her recover. Following Steve’s human rights advocacy, the local authority decided it was able to support Janet’s care at home. 

Key information

November 2023

Rights this relates to: 
Article 8: Right to private and family life

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