Updated Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty guidance following the easing of lockdown restrictions

With the easing of some lockdown restrictions from 12 April and new care home visiting arrangements, the Department updated its guidance, Mental Capacity Act/ Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards during the coronavirus pandemic on 27 April for those looking after people who lack mental capacity in hospitals and care homes.

The updated guidance reflects the Department’s 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 will be of particular relevance to visits by Independent Mental Capacity Advocates and DoLS assessors.

This is what the guidance says:

“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.”

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