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.

25th October 2017

Is it Legal to Get Residents with Dementia up at 5 am to Administer Medication?

Is it legal to be waking a dementia resident at 5 am to put them into a wheelchair at a table for them to just fall back to sleep with their head on the table? I'm being told residents, all of whom have dementia or illnesses of such like need to be up for meds, and everyone is asleep within minutes of getting up -  surely their meds can be taken to their rooms? Even when ill, they are being taken out of bed, surely this is wrong. I feel it is, maybe I'm wrong?


Dear D,


Thank you for your question. I think you know the answer to this, don't you?


There is absolutely no excuse for getting residents up at 5 am for the convenience of the staff of a care home.


If residents are awake then, of course, they can be got up, washed and dressed but that is about the needs of an individual and I do understand that because I am an early riser.


It is possible too, that in an isolated case, medication should be given at exactly 5 am but as you know, and you are describing most of the residents that you are caring for do not want to get up at 5 am, consequently, this is the worst of practice.


Care of older people with dementia should be exactly the same as for those who don't have dementia.


There is no dignity or choice in being made to get up at 5 am and every person in a care home should be receiving person-centred care built around them and their likes and dislikes.


Each person will have a care plan which should record their likes and dislikes and I would expect that care plan to record when the person has normally got up (of course this can change over the years) and the person's activities during the day should follow their likes and wishes.


There is another indicator here: If the person did not have dementia would they be made to get up at 5 am?


A final point which I make whenever I get a question like this; I believe that CQC would take a very dim view of this practice.


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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