Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

06th September 2017

Is it fair to get residents up early against their wishes?

How do I get through to staff that it is not acceptable to get most of the residents in our residential home up before 7.30am because they want to get less up throughout the morning? I am being told to get up residents who can't communicate verbally - they do not wish to get up but one gets physically violent as she does not wish to be disturbed? I am the senior in charge of the shift, but my carer has been told by morning staff to get certain people up and not to listen to me on my shifts. I do not agree that people should be got up early if they do not wish to, but not everyone follows these beliefs and just think I am being lazy.

Dear Jemma,

Thank you for your question which is at the very heart of everything that all responsible care providers are trying to achieve.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence defines person centred care as moving away from professionals deciding what is best for a patient or service user, and placing the person at the centre, as an expert of their own experience. The person, and their family where appropriate, become equal partners. (

People living in a care home are living in their own home and should wherever possible be able to make their own decisions.

When any expert talks about quality in a care home they always talk about person centred care and that service users should always be able to make their own decisions wherever possible.

I have to say that it is the worst possible practice to make decisions based on the convenience of staff and not on the wishes of service users and I am shocked to regularly be asked questions on this subject.

There is, of course, a way forward.

Many people are early risers and will want to be up and dressed at the crack of dawn so you can assist them to wash and dress.

Those who want to sleep in whether regularly or occasionally should be allowed to do so.

People communicate in many different ways. When people resist getting up, I think that is a clear indication of their wishes.

There is, of course, an underlying question about safeguarding running through your question.

I would advise you to meet with the Registered Manager of the home to discuss your concerns making clear that you are not refusing to get people up but those who wish to stay in bed longer should be allowed that choice.

I hope this is helpful.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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