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Motorbikes, Formula 1 and football: how Tim’s RPR helped him to be seen’ by care staff

26 July 2023

Tim, who was deprived of his liberty in a care home, was supported by his Relevant Person’s Representative to enjoy his old hobbies.

Tim’s story

Tim now lives in a care home. 

When his paid RPR Chloe first visited him, she found his mood seemed very flat, and he spoke in a monotone. 

Staff at the home said Tim had always been like that since he arrived. However, his records showed that he had received support from a community psychiatric nurse when he still lived at home.

Chloe asked for a mental health review. This happened a few days later, and the GP prescribed an antidepressant which Tim agreed to take.

On her second visit, Tim was noticeably more animated. He smiled, and gesticulated when chatting about his lifelong interest in sports. He said he was tolerating the new medication well.

Tim told Chloe that he was passionate about motorbikes, having enjoyed riding as a younger man, but also travelling to the Isle of Man for the TT races. Tim was also interested in F1 and used to regularly attend Silverstone. He follows Rotherham United football team, and they chatted about football and the steep rise in transfer fees!

Chloe asked if Tim watches any sport on TV. Tim’s eyesight has deteriorated significantly. However, his hearing is great, and he could clearly still enjoy the atmosphere of a sport.

Care home staff hadn’t realised that Tim had these interests, and they were very receptive to hearing about them. Chloe suggested Tim could access motorbike magazines or watch TT races, F1 and football on catch up services, or when transmitted live. Once Tim’s finances are settled, perhaps he could buy a television for his room, or buy magazines, which might be available in a more accessible format.

The staff agreed to make some changes, including making sure he has access to a TV to enjoy sport. 

As well as restoring his access to something he enjoys, the RPR’s involvement means the people who care for him can now see Tim more dynamically, as a person who has lived a varied and interesting life, and still enjoys his hobbies.

What is a Relevant Person’s Representative?

A Relevant Person’s Representative or RPR is one of the ways we can ensure that people who are deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital under a DoLS have someone impartial and independent to represent them.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) protects people in England and Wales who can’t consent to care arrangements which deprive them of their liberty. This might mean they are closely supervised, medicated or sedated, physically restrained, or confined to a particular ward or room. These restrictions must be necessary, in the person’s best interests, and the least restrictive option possible.

The relevant person’ who is deprived of their liberty is entitled to a representative.

A friend or family member can be an RPR, if they are able to visit regularly and are willing to take on the role.

If this isn’t possible, or there’s no one available at the time, a paid RPR takes this role. This must be requested by the local authority or care board.

As in Tim’s situation, the RPR can play a vital role in ensuring people live good lives.

*To protect their privacy we don’t use people’s real names, but their stories are genuine.