Ask the Care Specialists

Welcome to our 'Ask the Care Specialists', your one-stop portal for social care-related questions. Our team of specialists will try to answer as many of your Social Care questions as possible.

Is it acceptable to use a harness to help support someone’s upper body if they consent to its use?

Is it acceptable to use a harness to help support someone’s upper body if they consent to its use?

This is a huge question and the answer about whether the harness is acceptable cannot be the same for everyone.


Let’s start with what ‘acceptable’ means. Firstly, it must mean the harness, or any other intervention, is physically safe for this individual, and will not be harmful or cause them pain or discomfort. But ‘acceptable’ in this context also means an intervention that brightens their lives by enabling someone to do something that they want to do, such as enjoying the care home’s garden in lovely weather, or perhaps a longed-for trip with family or friends to a café or pub.


The questioner is quite right to put the person’s consent at the heart of their question. If the person has capacity and provided there is a safe way to support them physically to do what they want to do, the provider should do all they can to make it happen.  It is good practice to ask for advice, from the person’s physiotherapist or other health professional, about the best way to take this person outside.


And, even if the person lacks capacity to give their consent to something like this, it might well be in their best interests to be taken out in the fresh air, as long as it can be done safely. Care providers and relatives together should always try to find ways to provide care that enlarges someone’s horizons, makes them happy, and gives them as full a life as possible.

Rachel Griffiths

Mental Capacity and Human Rights Specialist

Rachel has huge experience and knowledge in the area of Mental Capacity, including how to recognise deprivation of liberty, when and how to assess capacity and how to go about making decisions in someone’s best interests. She is nationally recognised as a leading voice with regards to Mental Capacity, and is involved with setting the agenda as well as providing advice and information about Mental Capacity. The information, guidance and support that Rachel provides helps to ensure that the way people work is within the law and recognises that the person using services is always at the centre of any decisions made. Read more

What would you like to ask our Specialists?

Have you got a social care question that you just can't find the answer to? Our team of sector specialists is here to provide you with easy-to-understand top tips on a wide range of topics, from dementia, mental health to employment law or every day operational queries to help you deliver outstanding care.

We try to answer as many of your questions as possible. We give priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends. To learn more about the team visit:

Please note that our specialists cannot offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. Please do have a look at our website at other answers provided by our experts and in our Expert Insights section There is a wealth of information here freely accessible that could help you.

Important note: We are not in any way affiliated or connected to the Care Quality Commission, Care Inspectorate Scotland, or Care Inspectorate Wales. If your query relates to someone who is at risk of harm or in danger, you must follow your local safeguarding procedures. It is important that you speak to your regulator who will provide you with the best guidance and support.

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