With local authorities expected to continue to triage their DoLS referrals, the guidance published by DHSC on 9 April was welcome. The guidance states that “During the pandemic, the principles of the MCA and the safeguards provided by DoLS still apply”. In line with this guidance, and working closely with three local authorities, we have developed compliant protocols to ensure adults who lack the capacity to consent to their care have a legal framework. These protocols are now operational across three discrete projects and ensure that the individual remains at the heart of the assessment.
The emergency guidance for decision makers confirms that remote assessments are acceptable during the COVID-19 pandemic until further notice from the DHSC. We are doing assessments by video link, telephone and exploring other creative ways to include the person as far as is practicable.
As such, our assessors working across all of our projects consider all relevant circumstances including:
- whether it is likely that the person could regain capacity,
- ensuring participation if reasonably practicable,
- the person’s past and present wishes and feelings, and beliefs and values that would be likely to influence their decision,
- the views of the person’s family members and those interested in the person’s welfare, if it is practicable and appropriate to do so.
Decisions made under these arrangements will always be relevant to the individual.