DHSC Emergency MCA/DOLS guidance updated

The latest iteration of the guidance (11 November) now updates the main and additional guidance to take account of the new (English) lockdown regulations as of 5 November.   In respect of DoLS assessments, it reads as follows:

To carry out DoLS assessments and reviews, remote techniques should be considered, such as telephone or video calls where appropriate to do so, and the person’s communication needs should be taken into consideration. Views should also be sought from those who are concerned for the person’s welfare.

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.

National restrictions begin in England from 5 November 2020. Further information about the new restrictions can be found here.

During and after the national restrictions 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.

Similarly, professionals in Wales are required to comply with any additional setting guidance or location specific guidance for Wales when considering professional DoLS visits.

Similar guidance is given in relation to IMCAs and RPRs (helpfully expressly referring to unpaid RPRs) in the additional guidance.

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