KRW LAW LLP (KRW) is instructed by Martina Ferguson. Martina’s mother, is a resident of a Portadown Care Home. This care home is managed by The Four Seasons Healthcare which is part of Tamulst Care Limited which holds a contract from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT)


Martina’s mother suffers from advanced/late-stage dementia. Until the lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic she was allowed to have regular access to her family especially her daughter Martina. Martina helped care for her mother on a daily basis, tucked her into bed and made sure she was happy and content every night. Despite her advancing condition, she took great comfort from the love, care and attention of her daughter. Martina also assisted to her mother’s needs in terms of personal hygiene and care.


Since lockdown, 23 March 2020, Martina’s access to her mother has been severely restricted and her mother’s world in the last nine months has been a world without hugs and kisses.  Martina says tactile sensory such as a meaningful hug or simply holding hands is incredibly important to my mother and her, especially with her mother’s advanced stage dementia.


Martina has noted a decline in her mother’s condition. She was admitted to hospital 5 July 2020 and her daughter was heartbroken to find her mother in such an unhygienic state after 15 weeks of lockdown at the time, when Martina was able to be by her mother’s side during the period of hospitalisation.  Martina reported the state she found her mother in, both to the Care Home and the SHSCT. What made it more difficult and extremely sad, her mother cannot speak for herself due to her severe cognitive impairment.


Today KRW will lodge papers with the High Court in Belfast on behalf of Martina Ferguson. We are applying for a Judicial Review of the decisions of Tamulst Care Limited and The Four Seasons Healthcare as a provider of public services regarding decisions in relation to visiting by family members to those in their care and that the current policies and decisions breach human rights standards relating to inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to private life by being overly restricted and disproportionate.


Christopher Doran of KRW said:


“We find ourselves in unchartered waters with some fundamental Human Rights at play. It is imperative we carefully navigate our way between protecting the elderly from the threat of COVID-19 whilst ensuring vital family interaction for those suffering from mental illnesses such as dementia.”