How Does Covid-19 Affect Key Safeguarding Legislation?

MCA and DoLS Covid-19

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) and DoLS during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government’s released guidance for hospitals, care homes and supervisory bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, they’re offering guidance on how to interpret and apply key safeguarding legislation while still practicing social distancing.

The guidance concerns the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Summary of key points:

  • During the pandemic, the principles of the MCA and the safeguards provided by DoLS still apply. This guidance is only valid during the COVID-19 pandemic. It applies to those caring for adults who lack the relevant mental capacity to consent to their care and treatment. The guidance applies until withdrawn by the Department of Health and Social Care.
  • You must make your decisions specifically for each person, and not for groups of people.
  • Where life-saving treatment is being provided, including for the treatment of COVID-19, then the person will not be deprived of liberty as long as the treatment is the same as would normally be given to any person without a mental disorder. The DoLS will therefore not apply.
  • It may be necessary, for a number of reasons, to change the usual care and treatment arrangements of somebody who lacks the relevant mental capacity to consent to such changes.
  • In most cases, changes to a person’s care or treatment in these scenarios will not constitute a new deprivation of liberty. So a DoLS authorisation is not necessary. You should continue to provide care and treatment  in the person’s best interests.

To read the government guidance in full, head here.