DHSC, 'The MCA and DOLS during the coronavirus pandemic' (updated 27/4/21)

MCA/DOLS coronavirus guidance This document contains information under the following headings: (1) Summary of key points; (2) Use of the MCA and DoLS due to COVID-19; (3) Best interest decisions; (4) Delivering life-saving treatment: application of the Ferreira judgement; (5) Depriving a person of their liberty; (6) Hospitals and care homes; (7) Any other setting; (8) Supervisory bodies (local authorities in England, and local health boards and local authorities in Wales); (9) Emergency coronavirus health powers. The changes from the 12/1/21 version can be found under the headings "Summary of key points" and "Supervisory bodies (local authorities in England, and local health boards and local authorities in Wales)".

See also

DHSC email 27/4/21

Following the easing of some restrictions on 12th April, as part of government’s planned roadmap out of the current lockdown, we have updated both our Mental Capacity Act and deprivation of liberty safeguards during the pandemic guidance and additional guidance in relation to our advice for professionals visiting care homes and hospitals to say that visits by professionals can occur when needed and that they should be supported wherever it is possible to do so safely. This guidance is now in line with wider guidance on care home visiting and guidance on testing for professionals visiting care homes, which were both updated on the 22nd April, reminding people that they should work closely with care homes to decide if visiting is appropriate, that they should be tested on the door of the first care home they visit that day, and that testing is only one part of the approach to reduce risk.

Differences

Note that hyperlinks have not been reproduced below.

Summary of key points

Face-to-face visits by professionals, for example for DoLS assessments, are an important part of the DoLS legal framework. These visits can occur when needed, for example to meet the person’s specific communication needs, in urgent cases or if there are concerns about the person’s human rights.

The government has published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England, explaining how restrictions will be eased over time. Guidance on what you can and cannot do has been published reflecting the roadmap, which will also be updated as restrictions are eased.

The government has also updated its visiting policy for family and friends of care home residents, which professionals in England should read, as well as guidance on testing for professionals visiting care homes. Professionals in Wales should comply with any additional setting or location-specific guidance for Wales when considering professional DoLS visits.
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Face-to-face visits by professionals, for example for DoLS assessments, are an important part of the DoLS legal framework. These visits can occur if needed, for example to meet the person’s specific communication needs, in urgent cases or if there are concerns about the person’s human rights.

A national lockdown began in England on Wednesday, 6 January 2021 and national lockdown: stay at home guidance has been published detailing what you can and cannot do.

The government has also updated its visiting policy for family and friends of care home residents, which professionals in England should read. Professionals in Wales should comply with any additional setting or location-specific guidance for Wales when considering professional DoLS visits.

Supervisory bodies (local authorities in England, and local health boards and local authorities in Wales)

A national lockdown began in England on Wednesday, 6 January 2021 and national lockdown: stay at home guidance has been published detailing what you can and cannot do. During the national lockdown in England, visits by professionals can occur if needed. Decisions around visiting are operational decisions and ultimately for the providers and managers of individual care homes and hospitals to make. DoLS professionals should work closely with hospitals and care homes to decide if visiting in person is appropriate, and how to do this safely. Visiting professionals should understand and respect their local visiting policies, including for individual hospitals and care homes. The government’s policy for family and friends visits to care homes has recently been updated and contains practical advice about how to facilitate safe visits, which will also be useful for DoLS professionals.
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The government has published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England, explaining how restrictions will be eased over time. Guidance on what you can and cannot do has been published reflecting the roadmap, which will also be updated as restrictions are eased.

During and after the national restrictions in England, visits by professionals can occur when needed and should be supported wherever it is possible to do so safely. DoLS professionals should work closely with hospitals and care homes to decide if visiting in person is appropriate, and how to do this safely. Guidance on testing for professionals visiting care homes has been produced and should be used to support visiting to care homes, with professionals tested on the door of the first care home they visit on that day. However, testing is only one part of the approach to reduce risk. It is critical that visiting professionals put on and take off personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately and follow the relevant infection control measures when visiting a care home, including hand hygiene and distancing, in order to help keep care home residents and staff safe.

Decisions around visiting are operational decisions and ultimately for the providers and managers of individual care homes and hospitals to make. If an individual has not been tested (or is unable to provide proof) and it is not possible to test prior to entry, the care home should make a risk-based decision regarding whether to permit entry, taking into account the reason and urgency of the visit. Visiting professionals should understand and respect their local visiting policies, including for individual hospitals and care homes. The government’s policy for family and friends visits to care homes has also recently been updated and contains practical advice about how to facilitate safe visits, which will also be useful for DoLS professionals.

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Type: Coronavirus resource🔍 · Health guidance🔍

Title: The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Author: Department of Health and Social Care🔍

Date: 27/4/21🔍

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